- When you smother someone with a pillow so he can't breath, this is an example of a time when you suffocate him.
- When you feel claustrophobic and trapped by your small town, this is an example of a time when your town suffocates you.
transitive verb-·cat·ed, -·cat·ing
- to kill by cutting off the supply of oxygen to the lungs, gills, etc.
- to hinder the free breathing of; deprive of fresh air; stifle; choke
- to smother, suppress, extinguish, etc. by or as by cutting off the supply of air
Origin of suffocatefrom Classical Latin suffocatus, past participle of suffocare, to choke from sub-, sub- + fauces, gullet, throat: see fauces
- to die by being suffocated
- to be unable to breathe freely; choke; stifle; smother
- to be unable to develop properly as because of a repressive or dulling environment
verbsuf·fo·cat·ed, suf·fo·cat·ing, suf·fo·cates
- To kill or destroy by preventing access of air or oxygen.
- To impair the breathing of or cause discomfort to by cutting off the supply of fresh air.
- To suppress the development, imagination, or creativity of; stifle: “The rigid formality of the place suffocated her” ( William Makepeace Thackeray )
- To die from lack of air or oxygen.
- To feel discomfort from lack of fresh air.
- To become or feel oppressed; be stifled.
Origin of suffocateLatin suffōcāre suffōcāt- sub- sub- faucēs throat
(third-person singular simple present suffocates, present participle suffocating, simple past and past participle suffocated)
- (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!
- (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.
- (ergative, figuratively) To overwhelm, or be overwhelmed (by a person or issue), as though with oxygen deprivation.
- I'm suffocating under this huge workload.
- To destroy; to extinguish.
- to suffocate fire
(comparative more suffocate, superlative most suffocate)
- (obsolete) Suffocated; choked.