suf·fo·cate / ˈsəfəˌkāt/ • v. die or cause to die from lack of air or inability to breathe: [intr.] ten detainees suffocated in an airless police cell. | [tr.] she was suffocated by the fumes. ∎ have or cause to have difficulty in breathing: [intr.] he was suffocating, his head jammed up against the back of the sofa | [tr.] you're suffocating me—I can scarcely breathe | [as adj.] (suffocating) the suffocating heat. ∎ fig. feel or cause to feel trapped and oppressed: [as adj.] (suffocated) I felt suffocated by my marriage. DERIVATIVES: suf·fo·cat·ing·ly adv.suf·fo·ca·tion / ˌsəfəˈkāshən/ n.