Definition of stifle verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    stifle

     verb
    verb
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪfl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪfl//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they stifle
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪfl//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪfl//
     
    he / she / it stifles
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪflz//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪflz//
     
    past simple stifled
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪfld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪfld//
     
    past participle stifled
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪfld//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪfld//
     
    -ing form stifling
    BrE BrE//ˈstaɪflɪŋ//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstaɪflɪŋ//
     
     
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  1. 1[transitive] stifle something to prevent something from happening; to prevent a feeling from being expressed synonym suppress She managed to stifle a yawn. They hope the new rules will not stifle creativity. The government failed to stifle the unrest. She pressed her hand against her mouth to stifle her sobs. Stifling her impatience, she waited another half an hour.
  2. 2[intransitive, transitive] to feel unable to breathe, or to make somebody unable to breathe, because it is too hot and/or there is no fresh air synonym suffocate I felt I was stifling in the airless room. stifle somebody Most of the victims were stifled by the fumes.
  3. Word Origin late Middle English: perhaps from a frequentative of Old French estouffer ‘smother, stifle’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: stifle