v. choked, chok·ing, chokes
1. To interfere with the respiration of by compression or obstruction of the larynx or trachea.
a. To check or slow down the movement, growth, or action of: a garden that was choked by weeds.
b. To block up or obstruct by filling or clogging: Mud choked the drainpipe.
c. To fill up completely; jam: Major commuter arteries were choked with stalled traffic.
3. To reduce the air intake of (a carburetor), thereby enriching the fuel mixture.
4. Sports To grip (a bat or racket, for example) at a point nearer the hitting surface.
1. To have difficulty in breathing, swallowing, or speaking.
2. To become blocked up or obstructed.
3. Sports To shorten one's grip on the handle of a bat or racket. Often used with up.
4. To fail to perform effectively because of nervous agitation or tension, especially in an athletic contest: choked by missing an easy putt on the final hole.
1. The act or sound of choking.
a. Something that constricts or chokes.
b. A slight narrowing of the barrel of a shotgun serving to concentrate the shot.
3. A device used in an internal-combustion engine to enrich the fuel mixture by reducing the flow of air to the carburetor.
4. The fibrous inedible center of an artichoke head.
To hold back; suppress: choked back his tears.
To bring to an end as if by choking: "Treasury borrowing of existing savings would drive up the interest rate and choke off economic activity" (Paul Craig Roberts).
To be unable to speak because of strong emotion.
[Middle English choken, short for achoken, from Old English āceōcian : ā-, intensive pref. + cēoce, cēace, jaw, cheek.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.