Wrestling. an illegal hold by which an opponent's breath is choked off.
any force or influence that restricts the free actions or development of a person or group: the stranglehold of superstition.

1890–95; strangle + hold1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
stranglehold (ˈstræŋɡəlˌhəʊld)
1.  See also Japanese stranglehold a wrestling hold in which a wrestler's arms are pressed against his opponent's windpipe
2.  complete power or control over a person or situation

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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Example sentences
The firm has a huge advertising budget and a stranglehold on diamond
  distribution channels.
The stranglehold has gotten even tighter over the years.
There is no way to keep the unions in check without breaking their stranglehold
  over the general public.
However well intended left reformism is, under the stranglehold of local and
  world capital it is doomed to fail.
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