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[as-fik-see-eyt] /æsˈfɪk siˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), asphyxiated, asphyxiating.
to produce asphyxia in.
to cause to die or lose consciousness by impairing normal breathing, as by gas or other noxious agents; choke; suffocate; smother.
verb (used without object), asphyxiated, asphyxiating.
to become asphyxiated.
Origin of asphyxiate
1830-40; asphyxi(a) + -ate1
Related forms
asphyxiation, noun
asphyxiator, noun
Can be confused
asphyxia, asphyxiation. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for asphyxiate
Historical Examples
  • A tablespoonful poured on a cow-chip and rolled down a dog hole will asphyxiate the entire family.

    Bat Wing Bowles Dane Coolidge
  • "To shoot—or poison—or asphyxiate," expounded Glure, warming to his theme.

    Lad: A Dog Albert Payson Terhune
  • When version has been done haste may compress the head in the tight cervix and asphyxiate the child.

  • Its fumes, being heavier than air, penetrate the burrows and promptly poison or asphyxiate all living animals and fleas.

    Plague Thomas Wright Jackson
  • Compression of the vagus nerve may slow the child's pulse and asphyxiate it through lack of oxygen in the blood.

  • It would be difficult to asphyxiate any one in the open air without leaving any mark of strangulation.

    The Place of Dragons William Le Queux
British Dictionary definitions for asphyxiate


to cause asphyxia in or undergo asphyxia; smother; suffocate
Derived Forms
asphyxiation, noun
asphyxiator, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for asphyxiate

1818, "to suffocate" (someone or something), from asphyxia + -ate (2). Related: Asphyxiated; asphyxiating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asphyxiate in Medicine

asphyxiate as·phyx·i·ate (ās-fĭk'sē-āt')
v. as·phyx·i·at·ed, as·phyx·i·at·ing, as·phyx·i·ates
To induce asphyxia.

as·phyx'i·a'tion n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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