• IPA: /ˈsʌfəkeɪt/

suffocate (suffocates, present participle suffocating; past and past participle suffocated)

  1. (ergative) To suffer, or cause someone to suffer, from severely reduced oxygen intake to the body.
    Open the hatch, he is suffocating in the airlock!
  2. (ergative) To die due to, or kill someone by means of, insufficient oxygen supply to the body.
    He suffocated his wife by holding a pillow over her head.
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene vi]:
      Let not hemp his windpipe suffocate.
  3. (ergative, figuratively) To overwhelm, or be overwhelmed (by a person or issue), as though with oxygen deprivation.
    I'm suffocating under this huge workload.
  4. (transitive) To destroy; to extinguish.
    to suffocate fire
Synonyms Related terms Translations Translations Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (obsolete) Suffocated; choked.

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