Definition of suffocation in US English:



  • 1The state or process of dying from being deprived of air or unable to breathe.

    ‘suffocation by smoke inhalation’
    ‘the occupants died of suffocation inside the airtight compartment’
    count noun ‘prisoners told accounts of suffocations and shootings’
    • ‘A 34-year-old white male found dead in the basement of his home died of suffocation, according to police.’
    • ‘Whether moving grain or working in the grain bin, there's always a danger of suffocation or respiratory problems.’
    • ‘The most common cause of fish kills in Ohio is suffocation due to lack of oxygen.’
    • ‘The other occupant in the house had died of suffocation of smoke.’
    • ‘They carry out rapes, massacres, suffocations, torture and terror.’
    • ‘It was his opinion that the injury was evidence of suffocation or smothering.’
    1. 1.1 Difficulty in breathing.
      ‘we had to face heat and suffocation inside the coach’
      • ‘We went up a flight of stairs crammed to suffocation by people eagerly waiting for the hall doors to open.’
      • ‘The images in the nightmare had been vivid, but what had been more vivid had been the sensation of suffocation and sheer helplessness.’
      • ‘The combined feelings of suffocation and claustrophobia caused her to feel the worst terror she had ever experienced.’
      • ‘At the stadium in October 1934, the gangways were 'packed to suffocation'.’
      • ‘With all the heat, humidity and suffocation, no matter how hard I try to fall asleep, it remains a distant dream.’
    2. 1.2 A feeling of being trapped and oppressed.
      ‘for years I could not escape feelings of suffocation’
      ‘the country's slow suffocation under the ever-increasing weight of red tape’
      • ‘Growing up in East Germany, the Chancellor witnessed first-hand the economic suffocation of communism.’
      • ‘She cannot come to terms with the unkindnesses she experiences or hears about, nor the countless suffocations of poverty.’
      • ‘Many of these women saw motherhood as a form of suffocation - a socially accepted way of being buried alive.’
      • ‘The playwright himself thought her brave and true to her exceptional self, straining against the suffocation of modern life.’
      • ‘The playwright contrasts the suffocation of village society with the vastness of the sea that both creates and destroys.’
      • ‘By offering protection, not suffocation, Europe could set an example for the world in the best way to foster digital innovation.’