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Learned borrowing from New Latin asphyxia, itself borrowed from Ancient Greek ἀσφυξία (asphuxía, stopping of the pulse).


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asphyxia (countable and uncountable, plural asphyxias)

  1. Loss of consciousness due to the interruption of breathing and consequent anoxia.
    Asphyxia may result from choking, drowning, electric shock, or injury.
  2. Loss of consciousness due to the body's inability to deliver oxygen to its tissues, either by the breathing of air lacking oxygen or by the inability of the blood to carry oxygen.
  3. (medicine, obsolete) A condition in which an extreme decrease in the concentration of oxygen in the body leads to loss of consciousness or death. Replaced in the mid-20th century by the more specific terms anoxia, hypoxia, hypoxemia and hypercapnia.
    • 1895, Robley Dunglison, Richard J. Dunglison, A Dictionary of Medical Science containing a full explanation of the various subjects and terms of anatomy, physiology, medical chemistry, pharmacy, pharmacology, therapeutics, medicine, hygiene, dietetics, pathology, bacteriology, surgery, ophthalmology, otology, laryngology, dermatology, gynecology, obstetrics, pediatrics, medical jurisprudence, dentistry, etc. 21 edition:
      Hypoxaemia [] a deficient oxygenation of the blood; asphyxia from defective oxygenation of the blood.

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  1. third-person singular past historic of asphyxier