Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To interrupt or cut off (the voice, for example).
  • transitive v. To keep in or hold back; repress: stifled my indignation.
  • transitive v. To kill by preventing respiration; smother or suffocate.
  • intransitive v. To feel smothered or suffocated by or as if by close confinement in a stuffy room.
  • intransitive v. To die of suffocation.
  • n. The joint of the hind leg analogous to the human knee in certain quadrupeds, such as the horse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hind knee of various mammals, especially horses.
  • n. A bone disease of this region.
  • v. To interrupt or cut off.
  • v. To repress, keep in or hold back.
  • v. To smother or suffocate.
  • v. To feel smothered etc.
  • v. To die of suffocation.
  • v. To treat a silkworm cocoon with steam as part of the process of silk production.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The joint next above the hock, and near the flank, in the hind leg of the horse and allied animals; the joint corresponding to the knee in man; -- called also stifle joint. See Illust. under horse.
  • transitive v. To stop the breath of by crowding something into the windpipe, or introducing an irrespirable substance into the lungs; to choke; to suffocate; to cause the death of by such means.
  • transitive v. To stop; to extinguish; to deaden; to quench.
  • transitive v. To suppress the manifestation or report of; to smother; to conceal from public knowledge.
  • intransitive v. To die by reason of obstruction of the breath, or because some noxious substance prevents respiration.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To choke up; dam up; close.
  • To kill by impeding respiration, as by covering the mouth and nose, by introducing an irrespirable substance into the lungs, or by other means; suffocate or greatly oppress by foul air or otherwise; smother.
  • To stop the passage of; arrest the free action of; extinguish; deaden; quench: as, to stifle flame; to stifle sound.
  • To suppress; keep from active manifestation; keep from public notice; conceal; repress; destroy: as, to stifle inquiry; to stifle a report; to stifle passion; to stifle convictions.
  • Synonyms Suffocate, Strangle, etc. See smother.
  • To husn, muffle, muzzle, gag.
  • To suffocate; perish by asphyxia.
  • n. The stifle-joint.
  • n. Disease or other affection of the stifle-bone or stifle-joint, as dislocation or fracture of the patella.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of
  • n. joint between the femur and tibia in a quadruped; corresponds to the human knee
  • v. conceal or hide
  • v. smother or suppress
  • v. be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen

Etymologies

Middle English stifilen, alteration (influenced by Old Norse stīfla, to stop up) of stuffen, stuflen, to stifle, choke, drown, from Old French estoufer, of Germanic origin.
Middle English, possibly from Old French estivel, pipe, leg, tibia, from Latin stīpes, stick.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English stiflen, from Old Norse stífla ("to dam, choke, stop up"), from stífla ("dam"), from Proto-Germanic *stīfilaz, *stīfilan (“prop, pole, support”), from Proto-Indo-European *steip-, *steib- (“stake, picket”). Cognate with Icelandic stífla ("to dam up, jam, block"), Norwegian stivla ("to dam up, choke, stop"), Low German stipel ("support wood"), Eastern Frisian stīpe ("stake, support"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • This boar's savage charge at the camel was within a few yards of all of us, for every one was trying to entice him to come forth; after his headlong rush out of the bush he reared so upright in his attempt to reach his clumsy disturber, which was quite frantic from deadly fear, that he succeeded in ripping it in what in a horse would be termed the stifle joint.

    Natural History of the Mammalia of India and Ceylon

  • And, horses can rest standing up, by locking their knee called a stifle joint in place, which explains why cowboys in the many Westerns movies we've watched are lounging at the campfire when their horses are up and willing to go.

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  • Follow the lead of the private industry which you so easily stifle and as Archie told Edith "stifle" i.e. stifle yourself and leave the private sector alone.

    Urge the City of Aurora, Kane County and the State of Illinois to Unplug the Fiscally Irresponsible Funding Concept of Video Poker and Gambling | Commentary By Lady Gaga and Chris Daughtry

  • Likewise, for many of Clinton's supporters, it's been seen as a call to sit down and shut up or "stifle" as Archie Bunker used to say to Edith.

    Hullabaloo

  • Moosa told journalists he believed the new policy, once implemented, would "stifle" the crime syndicates behind the poaching.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • DA Justice spokesman Dr Tertius Delport on Monday described this as an attempt by Justice Minister Penuell Maduna to "stifle" DA leader Tony Leon, saying it had no basis in law,

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The only innovation a new consumer protection agency will "stifle" is deceptive and predatory practices that should be stifled, Blumenthal said.

    Articles » peoplesworld

  • If the turnover rate is too low at slow growth firms (below 4\%) it can "stifle" internal movement, frustrate your employees (which may lead to future turnover) and slow up individual talent development.

    ERE.net

  • Upton said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposed new regulations would "stifle" investment.

    B&C - Advertising News

  • The weekly also said the North will also "surely judge" the Lee government for participating in a U. S.-led international campaign to "stifle" the North.

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Comments

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  • "He made an effort to stifle his anxiety, and turned his attention back to his hands."

    Lord Foul's Bane, Chapter Five

    July 29, 2012

  • Citation (in the sense of part of a horse's leg) on withers.

    July 4, 2008

  • Stifle your curiosity

    November 20, 2007