Definition of asphyxia in English:



mass noun
  • A condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen, causing unconsciousness or death; suffocation.

    • ‘The patient had a history of perinatal asphyxia.’
    • ‘Substantial increases were noted for deaths due to asphyxia, sudden infant death syndrome, infection, and external causes.’
    • ‘Until recently, it was widely believed that asphyxia (lack of oxygen) during a difficult delivery was the cause of most cases of cerebral palsy.’
    • ‘The cause of death was asphyxia and a blood alcohol level showed he was just over the legal drink drive limit.’
    • ‘While asphyxia during delivery still causes some fetal deaths, it is not a common cause of these losses.’
    • ‘Perinatal asphyxia is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the neonatal period.’
    • ‘The final death certificate that came from the Pentagon some time later said it was death by asphyxia and is being investigated as a homicide.’
    • ‘It lists these as birth asphyxia, birth trauma and low birth weight - the conditions that arise in the perinatal period.’
    • ‘About one case will be associated with genuine perinatal asphyxia.’
    • ‘In the United States and more developed regions of the world, trained health care professionals can rapidly take steps to treat asphyxia.’
    • ‘The remaining cases included asphyxia, aspiration, sepsis, and unknown cause.’
    • ‘Similarly, many instances of intrapartum asphyxia resulting in stillbirth were of babies who were already growth restricted.’
    • ‘In old times it used to be given as an injection for such conditions as cerebral concussion and asphyxia from drowning.’
    • ‘A post-mortem examination established the cause of death was asphyxia.’
    • ‘They were transferred to our neonatal intensive care unit with a presumptive diagnosis of perinatal asphyxia.’
    • ‘These babies are malnourished and are prone to asphyxia before and during labour.’
    • ‘An autopsy indicated the man died from blunt force injuries and asphyxia.’
    • ‘The cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force injuries.’
    • ‘The most serious acute consequence of inhalant abuse is death, which usually occurs secondary to aspiration, accidental trauma, or asphyxia.’
    • ‘No concurrent or contributory cause of the brain damage is established, the only candidate apart from birth asphyxia being some prenatal pathology.’


Early 18th century (in the sense ‘stopping of the pulse’): modern Latin, from Greek asphuxia, from a- ‘without’ + sphuxis ‘pulse’.