1 [stahy-fuhl]
verb (used with object), stifled, stifling.
to quell, crush, or end by force: to stifle a revolt; to stifle free expression.
to suppress, curb, or withhold: to stifle a yawn.
to kill by impeding respiration; smother.
verb (used without object), stifled, stifling.
to suffer from difficulty in breathing, as in a close atmosphere.
to become stifled or suffocated.

1350–1400; Middle English < Old Norse stīfla to stop up, dam, akin to stīfr stiff

stifler, noun
unstifled, adjective

1. prevent, preclude, put down. 2. check. 3. suffocate, strangle, choke.

1, 2. encourage. Unabridged


2 [stahy-fuhl]
(in a horse or other quadruped) the joint between the femur and the tibia, corresponding anatomically to the human knee.
Also called stifle joint.

1275–1325; Middle English < ? Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stifle1 (ˈstaɪfəl)
1.  (tr) to smother or suppress: stifle a cough
2.  to feel or cause to feel discomfort and difficulty in breathing
3.  to prevent or be prevented from breathing so as to cause death
4.  (tr) to crush or stamp out
[C14: variant of stuflen, probably from Old French estouffer to smother]

stifle2 (ˈstaɪfəl)
the joint in the hind leg of a horse, dog, etc, between the femur and tibia
[C14: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., "to choke, suffocate, drown," of uncertain origin, possibly an alteration of O.Fr. estouffer "to stifle, smother," which may be from a Gmc. source (cf. O.H.G. stopfon "to plug up, stuff"). Metaphoric sense is from 1570s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The government continues to stifle democracy and oppose privatization of
  money-losing state enterprises.
If you can't stifle a cough or sneeze in a tissue quickly enough, sneeze into
  the crook of your elbow.
But critics of the law say it is used to stifle political opponents, and that
  it threatens academic freedom.
Disciplines are seen as disconnected silos that stifle innovation and restrict
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