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[chohks] /tʃoʊks/
noun, Informal.
a manifestation of caisson disease that is characterized by dyspnea, coughing, and choking.
Origin of chokes
see choke, -s3


[chohk] /tʃoʊk/
verb (used with object), choked, choking.
to stop the breath of by squeezing or obstructing the windpipe; strangle; stifle.
to stop by or as if by strangling or stifling:
The sudden wind choked his words.
to stop by filling; obstruct; clog:
Grease choked the drain.
to suppress (a feeling, emotion, etc.) (often followed by back or down):
I managed to choke back my tears.
to fill chock-full:
The storeroom was choked with furniture.
to seize (a log, felled tree, etc.) with a chain, cable, or the like, so as to facilitate removal.
to enrich the fuel mixture of (an internal-combustion engine) by diminishing the air supply to the carburetor.
Sports. to grip (a bat, racket, or the like) farther than usual from the end of the handle; shorten one's grip on (often followed by up).
verb (used without object), choked, choking.
to suffer from or as from strangling or suffocating:
He choked on a piece of food.
to become obstructed, clogged, or otherwise stopped:
The words choked in her throat.
the act or sound of choking.
a mechanism by which the air supply to the carburetor of an internal-combustion engine can be diminished or stopped.
Machinery. any mechanism that, by blocking a passage, regulates the flow of air, gas, etc.
Electricity. choke coil.
a narrowed part, as in a chokebore.
the bristly upper portion of the receptacle of the artichoke.
Verb phrases
choke off, to stop or obstruct by or as by choking:
to choke off a nation's fuel supply.
choke up,
  1. to become or cause to become speechless, as from the effect of emotion or stress:
    She choked up over the sadness of the tale.
  2. to become too tense or nervous to perform well:
    Our team began to choke up in the last inning.
1150-1200; Middle English choken, cheken, variant of achoken, acheken, Old English ācēocian to suffocate; akin to Old Norse kōk gullet
Related forms
chokeable, adjective
interchoke, verb (used with object), interchoked, interchoking.
unchokeable, adjective
unchoked, adjective
3. block, dam, plug. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for chokes
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And it gets into her eyes and chokes her, poor dear; but blow her if she won't be as Bohemian as anybody.

    Hilda Sarah Jeanette Duncan
  • "If he tries to eat me alive I hope he chokes," I answered to that.

    The U-boat hunters James B. Connolly
  • Once it gets its deadly grip on a victim, it keeps on tightening and tightening until it chokes the life out of it.

  • When it comes to putting his hand in his pocket—it chokes him off.

    Falk Joseph Conrad
  • "Hate is the thing that comes up in my throat and chokes me when I think of tyranny," interrupted the boy, his eyes darkening.

British Dictionary definitions for chokes


(transitive) to hinder or stop the breathing of (a person or animal), esp by constricting the windpipe or by asphyxiation
(intransitive) to have trouble or fail in breathing, swallowing, or speaking
(transitive) to block or clog up (a passage, pipe, street, etc)
(transitive) to retard the growth or action of: the weeds are choking my plants
(transitive) to suppress (emotion): she choked her anger
(intransitive) (slang) to die
(transitive) to enrich the petrol-air mixture by reducing the air supply to (a carburettor, petrol engine, etc)
(intransitive) (esp in sport) to be seized with tension and fail to perform well
the act or sound of choking
a device in the carburettor of a petrol engine that enriches the petrol-air mixture by reducing the air supply
any constriction or mechanism for reducing the flow of a fluid in a pipe, tube, etc
(electronics) Also called choke coil. an inductor having a relatively high impedance, used to prevent the passage of high frequencies or to smooth the output of a rectifier
the inedible centre of the head of an artichoke
See also choke back, choke up
Derived Forms
chokeable, adjective
Word Origin
Old English ācēocian, of Germanic origin; related to cheek
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 chokes



c.1300, transitive, "to strangle;" late 14c., "to make to suffocate," of persons as well as swallowed objects, a shortening of acheken (c.1200), from Old English aceocian "to choke, suffocate" (with intensive a-), probably from root of ceoke "jaw, cheek" (see cheek (n.)).

Intransitive sense from c.1400. Meaning "gasp for breath" is from early 15c. Figurative use from c.1400, in early use often with reference to weeds stifling the growth of useful plants (a Biblical image). Meaning "to fail in the clutch" is attested by 1976, American English. Related: Choked; choking. Choke-cherry (1785) supposedly so called for its astringent qualities. Johnson also has choke-pear "Any aspersion or sarcasm, by which another person is put to silence." Choked up "overcome with emotion and unable to speak" is attested by 1896. The baseball batting sense is by 1907.


1560s, "quinsy," from choke (v.). Meaning "action of choking" is from 1839. Meaning "valve which controls air to a carburetor" first recorded 1926.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chokes in Medicine

chokes (chōks)
A manifestation of caisson disease or altitude sickness characterized by dyspnea, coughing, and choking.

choke (chōk)
v. choked, chok·ing, chokes

  1. To interfere with the respiration of by compression or obstruction of the larynx or trachea.

  2. To have difficulty in breathing, swallowing, or speaking.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for chokes



To become ineffective because of tension or anxiety; choke up: I studied all night for my test and I totally choked (1980s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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