• WordNet 3.6
    • v suffocate struggle for breath; have insufficient oxygen intake "he swallowed a fishbone and gagged"
    • v suffocate feel uncomfortable for lack of fresh air "The room was hot and stuffy and we were suffocating"
    • v suffocate be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen "The child suffocated under the pillow"
    • v suffocate suppress the development, creativity, or imagination of "His job suffocated him"
    • v suffocate become stultified, suppressed, or stifled "He is suffocating--living at home with his aged parents in the small village"
    • v suffocate impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of "The foul air was slowly suffocating the children"
    • v suffocate deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing "Othello smothered Desdemona with a pillow","The child suffocated herself with a plastic bag that the parents had left on the floor"
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: If a shark's mouth is open to long it will suffocate.
    • a Suffocate Suffocated; choked.
    • v. i Suffocate To become choked, stifled, or smothered. "A swelling discontent is apt to suffocate and strangle without passage."
    • Suffocate To choke or kill by stopping respiration; to stifle; to smother. "Let not hemp his windpipe suffocate ."
    • Suffocate To destroy; to extinguish; as, to suffocate fire.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Prussic acid, in a crystalline powder called Zyklon B, was used to kill in Germany's gas chambers. The gas would paralyze the victim's lungs, causing them to suffocate.
    • suffocate To kill by preventing the access of air to the blood through the lungs or analogous organs, as gills.
    • suffocate To impede respiration in; compress so as to prevent respiration.
    • suffocate To stifle; smother; extinguish: as, to suffocate fire or live coals.
    • suffocate Synonyms Stifle, Strangle, etc. See smother.
    • suffocate To become choked, stifled, or smothered: as, we are suffocating in this close room.
    • suffocate Suffocated; choked.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: If you went out into space, you would explode before you suffocated because there's no air pressure.
    • v.t Suffocate suf′ō-kāt to choke by stopping the breath: to stifle
    • pa.p Suffocate suff′ocāted
    • p.adj Suffocate (Shak.) suffocated
    • ***


  • George Steiner
    “To many men... the miasma of peace seems more suffocating than the bracing air of war.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. suffocatus, p. p. of suffocare, to choke; sub, under + fauces, the throat. Cf. Faucal


In literature:

The prisons were filled to suffocation.
"Louis XIV., Makers of History Series" by John S. C. Abbott
It was supposed that another fit had seized him, and that in his struggle he had fallen and suffocated.
"Select Temperance Tracts" by American Tract Society
The flames took a firmer hold, the heat became intense, the smoke was suffocating.
"My Sword's My Fortune" by Herbert Hayens
Jane was one of those suffocating adventurers whom circumstance had fenced in.
"The Pagan Madonna" by Harold MacGrath
Frederick felt as if the palpitations of his heart would suffocate him.
"Sentimental Education, Volume II" by Gustave Flaubert
Then suddenly the atmosphere changed, and although the heat was still suffocating, the sun was hidden.
"Nobody's Girl" by Hector Malot
The month of August came, warm almost to suffocation.
"The Silver Lining" by John Roussel
If breathing ceases, follow Rule 2 under Suffocation (p. 186) till breathing is well established again.
"The Home Medical Library, Volume I (of VI)" by Various
A sense of suffocating fullness oppressed him as he climbed the steep incline of the streets of the capital.
"A Man of Two Countries" by Alice Harriman
She felt often she must suffocate.
"The Rainbow" by D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

In poetry:

Tout suffocant
Et blême, quand
Sonne l'heure.
Je me souviens
Des jours anciens,
Et je pleure...
"Autumn Song" by Paul Verlaine
Till the house called hers, not mine,
With a growing weight
Seems to suffocate
If she break not its leaden line
And escape from its close confine.
"Mesmerism" by Robert Browning
It is not so much light that falls
over the world
extended by your body
its suffocating snow,
as brightness, pouring itself out of you, as if you were
burning inside.
"Ode To A Naked Beauty" by Pablo Neruda
Give back the Babylon where I was born,
The lips that gape give back, the hands that grope,
And noise and blood and suffocating scorn
An eddy of fierce faces--and a hope
"The Hope Of The Streets" by Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Let the day glare: O memory, your tread
Beats to the pulse of suffocating night-
Night peering from his dark but fire-lit head
Burns on the day his tense and secret light.
"Ode To Fear" by Allen Tate
Then came Sophia, I believe,
Her coiffure was at least her own,
Alas! she fancied to deceive
Her friends by altering its tone.
She dyed her locks a flaming red!
I suffocated her in bed.
"Bluebeard" by Harry Graham

In news:

Man suffocates in mud collapse.
Can they fight their way out of a suffocating coffin when they are transferred to their home courtin Big D.
David Goodell, of Clifton, faces charges in the suffocation death of his ex-girlfriend, Viviana Tulli, according to a report on
Pelican 's tenth birthday, a Gary Numan Q&A, the Gories, Deerhunter, Suffocation, a Phil Spector movie, Clash sightings, and more.
Prosecutors in the trial claimed Anthony suffocated Caylee with duct tape, while the defense contended Caylee drowned in her grandparents' swimming pool.
(AP) — New Milford police have arrested a 67-year-old man accused of trying to suffocate his wife with a pillow .
Suffocation Risks Prompt Recall of Kids' Tent.
Autistic, special needs kids handcuffed, restrained , suffocated.
If they slept, they would suffocate or drown.
Thurston 50, Foss 14: Suffocating defense causes six turnovers, scores three touchdowns.
A suffocating defense and an efficient running game are the cornerstones of the Westwood High School football program.
If Social Security payroll taxes discourage employers from hiring and employees from working ("Put a Permanent Lid on Payroll Taxes," Forum Jan 25), they fairly suffocate something else: Initiative.
Columbia's defense suffocates Harris- Stowe .
UNH student strangled , suffocated.
One of the recalled cribs made by C&T International/Sorelle A New Jersey company is recalling 170,000 wooden cribs that pose a risk of suffocation.

In science:

This process has been given the quite violent name of ‘strangulation’ (or ‘starvation’ or ‘suffocation’) and it represents one important element of semi-analytic models of galaxy formation.
How `heredity' and `environment' shape galaxy properties
But NUSEL must have the flexibility to construct customized space for detectors with special requirements, including large volumes of water, electrical isolation, and physical isolation and venting for safe use of flammables, cryogens, toxic materials, and suffocating gases.
Reference Design Project Book: NUSEL-Homestake
Safety, special materials, and materials handling: Next-generation experiments will require safe use and handling of flammables, cryogens, certain toxic chemicals, suffocating gases, and possibly even mega-Curie neutrino sources for detector calibration.
Reference Design Project Book: NUSEL-Homestake
It is also assumed that all large volume toxic/flammable liquids or suffocating gasses will be transported to and maintained in double containment containers when in detector lab.
Reference Design Project Book: NUSEL-Homestake