Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word


 - definitions and thesaurus

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb suffocate pronunciation in American English /ˈsʌfəˌkeɪt/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlesuffocating
past tensesuffocated
past participlesuffocated
  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to die because you cannot breathe, or to kill someone in this way

    Many of the victims either burned to death or suffocated.

    The men tried to suffocate him with a plastic bag.

    1. a.
      [intransitive] [always progressive] informal to feel very uncomfortable because there is not much fresh air to breathe
  2. 2
    [transitive] to prevent a relationship, business, skill, etc. from developing in a positive way

    The trade embargo is suffocating the nation's economy.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to feel that you are not free to enjoy your life or to do what you want, or to make someone feel this way

    Living in a small town was suffocating Mona.

    Synonyms and related words for this sense of suffocate

derived word


 suffocate pronunciation in American English /ˌsʌfəˈkeɪʃ(ə)n/  noun [uncountable]


web content which is specifically intended to make Facebook users click the 'Like' button associated with it

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


the possibility of Greece leaving the Eurozone …

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog