v. suf·fo·cat·ed, suf·fo·cat·ing, suf·fo·cates
1. To kill or destroy by preventing access of air or oxygen.
2. To impair the breathing of or cause discomfort to by cutting off the supply of fresh air.
3. To suppress the development, imagination, or creativity of; stifle: "The rigid formality of the place suffocated her" (William Makepeace Thackeray).
1. To die from lack of air or oxygen.
2. To feel discomfort from lack of fresh air.
3. To become or feel oppressed; be stifled.
[Latin suffōcāre, suffōcāt- : sub-, sub- + faucēs, throat.]
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.