Date: 1300-1400
Origin: achoke 'to choke' (11-14 centuries), from Old English aceocian


1 verb
1 [intransitive] to be unable to breathe properly because something is in your throat or there is not enough air
choke on
He choked on a piece of bread.
Six people choked to death on the fumes.
2 [transitive] if something chokes you, it makes you unable to breathe properly:
I felt as if there was a weight on my chest, choking me.
The smoke was choking me.
3 [transitive] to prevent someone from breathing by putting your hands around their throat and pressing on it:
His hands were round her throat, choking her.
4 [intransitive and transitive] to be unable to talk clearly because you are feeling a strong emotion
choke with
He was choking with rage.
I was too choked with emotion to speak.
Her voice was choked with rage.
5 [transitive] also choke something ↔ out to say something with difficulty because you are very upset or angry:
'Get out,' she choked.
6 [ transitive] also choke something ↔ up to fill a place so that things cannot move through it:
Weeds were choking the stream.
be choked (up) with something
The gutters were choked up with leaves.
7 [intransitive] informal to fail at doing something, especially a sport, because there is a lot of pressure on you:
People said I choked, but I just had a bad day on the golf course.
8 [transitive]HBP if one plant chokes another, it kills it by growing all around it and taking away its light and room to grow:
Weeds can quickly choke delicate garden plants.

choke a horse

American English spoken if you say that something is big enough to choke a horse, you are emphasizing that it is very big:
a wad of bills big enough to choke a horse

choke something ↔ back

phrasal verb
to control your anger, sadness etc so that you do not show it:
He choked back tears as he described what had happened.
She choked back a sob.
I choked back my anger.

choke off something

phrasal verb
to prevent something from happening:
It is feared that higher interest rates might choke off economic recovery.

choke something ↔ out

phrasal verb
to say something with difficulty because you are very upset or angry:
His heart hammered as he choked out the words.
'No!' she choked out.

choke up

phrasal verb

choke something ↔ up

to fill a place so that things cannot move through it
be choked up with something
The stream was choked up with weeds.

choke somebody up

to make someone feel very upset and unable to talk:
This song really chokes me up.
I was really choked up when I saw her again.
WORD FOCUS: breathe WORD FOCUS: breathe
to breathe in: inhale formal

to breathe out: exhale formal

to breathe noisily: sniff, snore (when sleeping)
, sigh

to breathe with difficulty: gasp, pant, wheeze, be short of breath, be out of breath

to be unable to breathe: choke, suffocate

See also

Dictionary results for "choke"
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