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Denotation vs. Connotation

smother

[smuhth -er] /ˈsmʌð ər/
verb (used with object)
1.
to stifle or suffocate, as by smoke or other means of preventing free breathing.
2.
to extinguish or deaden (fire, coals, etc.) by covering so as to exclude air.
3.
to cover closely or thickly; envelop:
to smother a steak with mushrooms.
4.
to suppress or repress:
to smother feelings.
5.
Cookery. to steam (food) slowly in a heavy, tightly closed vessel with a minimum of liquid:
smothered chicken and onions.
verb (used without object)
6.
to become stifled or suffocated; be prevented from breathing.
7.
to be stifled; be suppressed or concealed.
noun
8.
dense, stifling smoke.
9.
a smoking or smoldering state, as of burning matter.
10.
dust, fog, spray, etc., in a dense or enveloping cloud.
11.
an overspreading profusion of anything:
a smother of papers.
Origin of smother
1125-1175
1125-75; (noun) Middle English smorther dense smoke; akin to Old English smorian to suffocate; (v.) Middle English smo(r)theren, derivative of the noun
Related forms
smotherable, adjective
half-smothered, adjective
unsmotherable, adjective
unsmothered, adjective
unsmothering, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for smothering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then she made a little clutch at her throat, as if she were smothering.

    Love Stories Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • "We'll run for Peel this morning, boys," said Pete, smothering his voice in a mouthful.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • The winter-wind blowing through the window filled with fine frost wet his face, lifted the smothering off his lungs.

  • The smothering canopy was then lowered, but not so noiselessly as I had seen it lowered.

  • He was gasping for breath, strangling in the smothering oven which his chamber had become.

    A Mortal Antipathy Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • He thought, on this, that he might be smothering her; and he relaxed his hold to allow her to breathe.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • smothering an exclamation, Lorry jerked out his watch and then sprang to his feet, intensely excited.

    Graustark George Barr McCutcheon
British Dictionary definitions for smothering

smother

/ˈsmʌðə/
verb
1.
to suffocate or stifle by cutting off or being cut off from the air
2.
(transitive) to surround (with) or envelop (in): he smothered her with love
3.
(transitive) to extinguish (a fire) by covering so as to cut it off from the air
4.
to be or cause to be suppressed or stifled: smother a giggle
5.
(transitive) to cook or serve (food) thickly covered with sauce, etc
noun
6.
anything, such as a cloud of smoke, that stifles
7.
a profusion or turmoil
8.
(archaic) a state of smouldering or a smouldering fire
Derived Forms
smothery, adjective
Word Origin
Old English smorian to suffocate; related to Middle Low German smōren
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for smothering

smother

v.

c.1200, "to suffocate with smoke," from smother (n.), earlier smorthre "dense, suffocating smoke" (late 12c.), from stem of Old English smorian "to suffocate, choke, strangle, stifle," cognate with Middle Dutch smoren, German schmoren; possibly connected to smolder. Meaning "to kill by suffocation in any manner" is from 1540s; sense of "to extinguish a fire" is from 1590s. Sense of "stifle, repress" is first recorded 1570s; meaning "to cover thickly (with some substance)" is from 1590s. Related: Smothered; smothering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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