9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[stahy-fuh l] /ˈstaɪ fəl/
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.
Origin of stifle1
1350-1400; Middle English < Old Norse stīfla to stop up, dam, akin to stīfr stiff
Related forms
stifler, noun
unstifled, adjective
1. prevent, preclude, put down. 2. check. 3. suffocate, strangle, choke.
1, 2. encourage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for stifled
  • They argue that new network services and consumer access to vital information could be stifled by added fees.
  • Previous experiments had used two or more such layers, which stifled the flow of spin-aligned electrons.
  • One well-known area of research government stifled in the past is stem cells.
  • Once brain is stifled of any reasoning the exercise required to keep the brain healthy is nipped in the bud.
  • And they screw it all up so bad everything costs more for everybody and cost-effective innovation is stifled.
  • Free political discourse has been on life support for many years, stifled by those who wish to silence opposing viewpoints.
  • Augmented reality is stifled by limitations in software and hardware, he explained.
  • The overactive, eavesdropping neurons became stifled by their neighbors.
  • Climate scientists tried the same thing, and then stifled any criticism.
  • Innovation, investment, and growth end up being stifled.
British Dictionary definitions for stifled


(transitive) to smother or suppress: stifle a cough
to feel or cause to feel discomfort and difficulty in breathing
to prevent or be prevented from breathing so as to cause death
(transitive) to crush or stamp out
Derived Forms
stifler, noun
Word Origin
C14: variant of stuflen, probably from Old French estouffer to smother


the joint in the hind leg of a horse, dog, etc, between the femur and tibia
Word Origin
C14: of unknown origin
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 stifled



late 14c., "to choke, suffocate, drown," of uncertain origin, possibly an alteration of Old French estouffer "to stifle, smother," which may be from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German stopfon "to plug up, stuff"). Metaphoric sense is from 1570s. Related: Stifled; stifling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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