Definition of throat in US English:



  • 1The passage which leads from the back of the mouth of a person or animal.

    • ‘Every cough that racked his body grated on his throat and made his mouth feel like sandpaper.’
    • ‘The infection spreads from the nose or throat through the Eustachian tube, a passage between the throat and the middle ear.’
    • ‘Bile was burning my mouth, my throat and chest were so tight, the nausea was overpowering.’
    • ‘The hospital will use the money to buy a laser to treat abnormal lining in the throat which can lead to oesophageal cancer.’
    • ‘The sound thus produced is amplified in the throat, mouth, nose and sinuses and streams out as an individual's voice.’
    • ‘It causes the nerves at the back of the throat to signal the blood vessels to dilate - and fast.’
    • ‘The soft palate forms a curtain between the mouth and the throat, or pharynx, to the rear.’
    • ‘The spicy, and burning taste of bile and stomach acid burned my throat and mouth.’
    • ‘The trachea is situated immediately in front of the esophagus, the passageway that connects the throat with the stomach.’
    • ‘When we swallow, the soft palate closes off the nasal passages from the throat to prevent food from entering the nose.’
    • ‘That's when the nausea set in, and he quickly moved to cover his mouth in case his throat muscles failed to suppress the vomit.’
    • ‘So for example if he were to eat a raw apple, he would get itchiness in his mouth, his throat, may get a feeling of some swelling in his lips and his tongue.’
    • ‘We suffered nosebleeds and blisters in our sinuses, throats, and mouths.’
    • ‘When you have a cold, the tiny tube that connects your throat and middle ear is often blocked.’
    • ‘Suddenly our conversation came to an abrupt halt, our breath caught in our throats and our mouths hung open with astonishment.’
    • ‘Throat infections, sore throats, and upper respiratory tract infections were measured in episodes and days.’
    • ‘Heartburn is a burning feeling in the lower chest, along with a sour or bitter taste in the throat and mouth.’
    • ‘The Eustachian tube connects your middle ear to your throat (as shown on the illustration above).’
    • ‘Excess body weight contributes to obstructive sleep apnea, as does extra tissue at the back of your mouth and in your throat.’
    • ‘By day four, the face flushed and the first painful lesions appeared - not on the surface of the skin, but in the mouth, throat and nasal passages.’
    gullet, oesophagus
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 The front part of a person's or animal's neck, behind which the esophagus, trachea, and blood vessels serving the head are situated.
      ‘a gold pendant gleamed at her throat’
      • ‘Destine nodded, trailing her fingers across the front of his throat.’
      • ‘The strange mark seemed to go right across his throat, at the front, where the windpipe would be.’
      • ‘For the male, an orangish-light rufous color covered the area around the eye extending down the side of the face and the front of the throat.’
      • ‘My other hand, placed at the front of my throat, fingered the warm tip of the blade.’
      • ‘A small moan escaped her pink lips as she tilted her head to allow him better access to her throat and neck.’
      • ‘Her palm was wrapped around the front of his throat, and he gagged once or twice.’
      • ‘He currently has a Latvian scarf around his neck to keep his throat warm.’
      • ‘At this point, pressure is applied to the suspect's neck between the throat and the carotid artery with the lower forearm.’
      • ‘For boys, when the larynx grows bigger, it tilts to a different angle inside the neck and part of it sticks out at the front of the throat.’
      • ‘The great vein of the throat - the lower neck - the wrist - they are all suitable.’
      • ‘Suddenly a pair of hands grabbed her throat from in front of her and began to choke her.’
      • ‘I couldn't help but sigh as he softly kissed my neck, my throat.’
      • ‘He allowed his hand to trail down her neck and across her throat.’
      • ‘Quickly he placed the knife in front of her throat causing the girl to jump slightly.’
      • ‘A silver necklace gleamed from around her throat, accenting her delicate neck.’
      • ‘He smiled as he traced his fingernails down Ford's cheek, then dug them into the front of his throat.’
      • ‘His mouth trails down the column of my neck, my throat bare and arched up towards him in an attitude of complete submission and surrender.’
      • ‘There as a long, white scar that ran from under his pointy chin, down the front of his throat, and to the middle of his collarbone.’
      • ‘Out of the corner of her eye, Mandy suddenly spotted one of her aides making frantic cutting motions across the throat while waving the front page of the Sun.’
      • ‘He said she grabbed the victim by her clothing around her neck and not her throat.’
    2. 1.2literary A voice of a person or a songbird.
      ‘from a hundred throats came the cry “Vive l'Empereur!”’
      • ‘There was the water-on-shale sound of amusement hissed from a dozen throats.’
      • ‘The word "papa" shouted by a thousand angry throats was carried up to the windows above.’
      • ‘Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell’
      • ‘I screamed over and over until I could not feel my throat screaming anymore.’
      • ‘"Forever," came back the hushed whisper from a hundred throats.’
    3. 1.3 A thing compared to a throat, especially a narrow passage, entrance, or exit.
      • ‘What we have to imagine now is that a tiny piece of that skin is pinched off, forming a little blister connected to the Universe by a narrow throat - the black hole.’
      • ‘The extra deep throat of the gauge enables materials to be measured up to 4 3/4 inches from the edge of a sheet.’
      • ‘They had decided to meet the Utuku in the narrow throat in the Papti Plain between the Lolopopo Swamp and the great bend of the Adkapo.’
    4. 1.4Sailing The forward upper corner of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail.
      • ‘A single halyard to the throat of the sail is an alternative to lashing the throat permanently to the masthead, and it facilitates reefing.’
      • ‘When the throat halliard is belayed, hoist the peak until deep, full wrinkles appear in the throat of the sail.’
      • ‘The throat of the sail is lashed with a 4 mm lacing line to the shank of the bolt behind the gaff jaw.’


  • be at each other's throats

    • (of people or organizations) quarrel or fight persistently.

      • ‘When I first met Josh, we were at each other's throats for a long time; we would fight, we would hate each other.’
      • ‘They're always pictured in the history books as being at each other's throats…’
      • ‘There's an arrogant actor who thinks he's God, so everybody is at each other's throats so it's a matter of keeping everything under control.’
      • ‘Within weeks, Lily and I - previously ensconced in an enviably stress-free marriage - were at each other's throats.’
      • ‘Eighty years ago, T.E. Lawrence's genius was to weld a few Hejaz tribes into a biddable unit, but they were at each other's throats by the time they reached the gates of Damascus.’
      • ‘But by now Stanley and Barker were at each other's throats.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, none of the mutts got on and were at each other's throats like rabid pit bulls.’
      • ‘Are we always going to be at each other's throats?’
      • ‘Barely a week goes by when the duo are not portrayed by a voracious media as being at each other's throats.’
      • ‘Far from peaceably agreeing with one another, we were at each other's throats about the Schappelle Corby trial.’
      argue, quarrel, row, have a row, bicker, squabble, have words, debate, disagree, have a disagreement, have an altercation, be at odds, bandy words
      View synonyms
  • cut one's own throat

    • Bring about one's own downfall by one's actions.

      • ‘People who try to throw a fastball by him, especially with runners in scoring position, are cutting their own throat.’
      • ‘Harvey's a guardsman, I was registered as a Democrat but totally nonpolitical, had made sure that it stayed out of my consulting practice because the first thing you do when you get that into a consulting practice is you cut your own throat.’
      • ‘When Dad asked how practice had gone, the kid said, ‘Fine,’ effectively cutting his own throat.’
      • ‘But if you must cut your marketing, don't cut your own throat.’
      • ‘Remembering back, I would say that he cut his own throat on Pleasantville in very much the same way.’
      • ‘He was told he'd be cutting his own throat when he brought Jasper Johns to the Fringe in 1964.’
      • ‘Pragmatism in politics is nothing more than a means of cutting your own throat in the slowest and most excruciating manner.’
      • ‘There are lots of pithy quotes, from Dennis Hopper's ‘I had final cut and cut my own throat ‘, relating to his drug-fuelled The Last Movie, to John Milius's ‘Hollywood was a walled city.’’
      • ‘You're cutting your own throat in the American League, if you do, because the league is going to gouge each other's eyes out with a heavy accent on big innings.’
      • ‘But you have to wonder if they're cutting their own throat, losing out on the premium SMS's, and the data transfer costs.’
  • force (or ram or shove) something down someone's throat

    • Force ideas or material on a person's attention by repeatedly putting them forward.

      • ‘And it's not just ultra conservatives who want to shove their values down your throat.’
      • ‘It doesn't do you any harm to listen to what people of other faiths think and having an assembly once a week is hardly shoving it down your throat.’
      • ‘While Tanya Levina may describe fascism and communism as ‘systems of genius ‘, how will she feel when she confront a teacher or other authority figure who tries to shove their values down her throat?’’
      • ‘Indeed, the gleeful spectacle of one of the zombies shoving its hand deep into a victim's mouth graphically reflects the film's more general tendency of ramming ideas down the viewer 's throat.’
      • ‘I find it ironic that the 1947 version basically leaves religion out of it, but the 1994 version shoves it down your throat… and here I had hoped that the world was moving away from such concepts.’
      • ‘But they wanted to shove an unfair deal down the union 's throat, using the support of the media and the mayor to force them to accept this.’
      • ‘The question I have is why does the extreme Christian right doesn't believe in the First Amendment and feel that they have the right to shove their faith down my throat?’
      • ‘I fear a lot of policy has been being made by people who are simply uninterested in understanding, and who have all sorts of ulterior motives for trying to shove a policy down the world 's throat regardless of the realities of the situation.’
      • ‘It gives me hope that there are people out here at SFU that won't shove their opinions down my throat.’
      • ‘You can't shove something down either side 's throat, and make that the lasting agreement.’
  • grab (or take) someone by the throat

    • 1Put one's hands around someone's throat, typically in an attempt to throttle them.

      • ‘An unemployed father grabbed his girlfriend by the throat and threatened to kill her in a drunken argument, Selby magistrates heard.’
      • ‘Can you not just see the hurt look on her face when he gently takes her by the throat and throttles her to death?’
      • ‘On a flight to Japan, the former football hardman is said to have sworn at one woman passenger before grabbing her male companion by the throat.’
      • ‘Blackburn magistrates heard that Howard Wayne Eastham grabbed his aunt by the throat during the incident and she fell to the floor.’
      • ‘Another publican reported an instance later on in the night where a barman was grabbed by the throat and held down while another person in the group filled drinks from the taps.’
      • ‘A 39-YEAR-old man grabbed his wife by the throat and head-butted her in the face as their three children watched, a court was told.’
      • ‘Another of the allegations against him aired recently in court, where he brought an unfair dismissal case, was that he grabbed his goalkeeper by the throat after a less than satisfactory performance and had to be torn off him.’
      • ‘I attempted to grab him by the throat, but he just fled to the ladder and scrambled up, his ‘evil’ laughter ringing in his wake.’
      • ‘Mr Hegarty had accused her of grabbing a co-worker by the throat - which Mrs Campbell vehemently denied - and told the man hearing her grievance that she was ‘greedy and money orientated’.’
      • ‘My heart aches for him, but my hands also itch to grab him by the throat and throttle him for a little bit for calling my best friend a whore.’
      • ‘He had been forced to discipline her for grabbing a fellow worker by the throat.’
      • ‘Prosecutor Frank Murphy said Telford grabbed his victim by the throat before throwing him off the bus following the altercation at the bus stop in Middleleaze Drive, West Swindon.’
      • ‘My goodness but if he didn't grab Dot by the throat and start tee throttle her.’
      • ‘With the Laois players gaining a new stature amongst those who followed them they took Monaghan by the throat and threatened to throttle the life out of them.’
      1. 1.1Seize control of something.
        ‘in the second half, the Huskies took the game by the throat’
        • ‘This time, he grabbed it by the throat, scoring 13 straight Minnesota points in the fourth quarter.’
        • ‘They proceeded to take the match by the throat with another two maximums to be in total control at 31-16 after eight races.’
        • ‘Mr Hoare said: ‘In essence the plan is to grab the centre by the throat and give it a really good shake.’’
        • ‘In her essay ‘Believing in Literature,’ Dorothy Allison wrote that literature provides ‘a reason to believe, a way to take the world by the throat and insist that there is more to this life than we have ever imagined.’’
        • ‘Gill punished every Louisburgh indiscretion with a point and Stephen Broderick took the game by the throat and fired over two great points, the last one looking like it was the winner.’
        • ‘He had turned a match around, grabbed it by the throat and opened up a three-hole lead, only to throw it all away on the homeward nine.’
        • ‘Not just managing Shakespeare but actually grabbing it by the throat and ringing every drop out of it and carrying it with such conviction.’
        • ‘At critical times it was Turner who took the game by the throat and kept Pioneer in the fight.’
        • ‘Every time the Canes were in danger of losing for the first time since September 2000, McGahee grabbed the game by the throat and squeezed.’
        • ‘West however had tasted defeat in the second semi final and literally took the game by the throat.’
      2. 1.2Attract someone's undivided attention.
        ‘the movie grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go’
        • ‘If you can listen to this album without it grabbing you by the throat and bitch-slapping you to attention, then check your hearing-aid, grandpa.’
        • ‘The opening of the movie grabs you by the throat.’
        • ‘Your film better scream out at people, grab them by the throat and force them to watch it.’
        • ‘But to show the horror of 9/11 in the background, that's just some advertising agency's attempt to grab people by the throat.’
        • ‘Walsh writes approvingly, ‘The intense hatred for the neocons fairly jumps off the pages of this paleocon magazine, grabs you by the throat and demands that you listen…‘’
        • ‘A breathy intro, which leads very quickly into a shouty chorus which grabs you by the throat and says ‘Listen to me!’’
        • ‘It's just hard to see the positive when she has this terrible habit of verbally grabbing you by the throat and banging you up against the nearest wall until your teeth rattle in your head.’
        • ‘From the opening scene in the Korova Milkbar to the distressing yet thoroughly satisfying finale, the film grabs the viewer by the throat and doesn't let go.’
        • ‘At present day, if a song doesn't grab the listener by the throat and slam their faces into the radio, they change the station.’
        • ‘Some films grab you by the throat and don't relent, others work a more stealthy charm and get better and better as they go along.’


Old English throte, throtu, of Germanic origin; related to German Drossel. Compare with throttle.