asphyxiate

To asphyxiate is to keep someone from breathing — to suffocate or smother them. Choking on a piece of food can asphyxiate a person.

Your body needs to breathe oxygen in order to function, and when it's deprived of oxygen that's called asphyxia or asphyxiation. If a person stops being able to breathe, you can also say they asphyxiate. The origin of this verb is asphyxia, "stopping of the pulse," in Greek, which originally had the same meaning in English, before it came to mean "suffocation."

Definitions of asphyxiate
  1. verb
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    synonyms: smother, suffocate
    stifle, suffocate
    be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen
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    type of:
    kill
    cause to die; put to death, usually intentionally or knowingly
  2. verb
    impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of
    synonyms: choke, stifle, suffocate
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    type of:
    block, close up, impede, jam, obstruct, obturate, occlude
    block passage through
  3. verb
    be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen
    synonyms: stifle, suffocate
    smother, suffocate
    deprive of oxygen and prevent from breathing
    see moresee less
    types:
    strangle
    die from strangulation
    type of:
    buy the farm, cash in one's chips, choke, conk, croak, decease, die, drop dead, exit, expire, give-up the ghost, go, kick the bucket, pass, pass away, perish, pop off, snuff it
    pass from physical life and lose all bodily attributes and functions necessary to sustain life
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