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  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈθɹɒtəl/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈθɹatəl/
  • Rhymes: -ɒtəl

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English *throtel, diminutive of throte (throat), equivalent to throat +‎ -le. Compare German Drossel (throttle). More at throat.


throttle (plural throttles)

  1. A valve that regulates the supply of fuel-air mixture to an internal combustion engine and thus controls its speed; a similar valve that controls the air supply to an engine.
  2. The lever or pedal that controls this valve.
    • 1961 July, J. Geoffrey Todd, “Impressions of railroading in the United States: Part Two”, in Trains Illustrated, page 425:
      To my unpractised eye, the undulations in the track were quite imperceptible, but the engineer's hand on the throttle was never still.
    Synonyms: accelerator, gas pedal, gas
  3. (anatomy, archaic) The windpipe or trachea.
    • 1817, Walter Scott, The Search After Happiness, or, The Quest of Sultaun Solimaun
      She doucely span her flax and milk'd her
      Until the Sultaun strain'd his princely throttle
    • 1915, Russell Thorndike, chapter XXXVII, in Doctor Syn:
      From the cabin came that horrible song: "Here's to the feet wot have walked the plank. ⁠Yo ho! for the dead man's throttle."

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English throtlen (to choke, strangle, suffocate), from the noun (see above). Compare German erdrosseln (to strangle, choke, throttle).


throttle (third-person singular simple present throttles, present participle throttling, simple past and past participle throttled)

  1. (transitive) To cut back on the speed of (an engine, person, organization, network connection, etc.).
  2. (transitive) To strangle or choke someone.
    • 1649, [John] Milton, [Eikonoklastes]  [], London: Printed by Matthew Simmons,  [], OCLC 1044608640:
      Grant him this, and the Parliament hath no more freedom than if it sat in his noose, which, when he pleases to draw together with one twitch of his negative, shall throttle a whole nation, to the wish of Caligula, in one neck.
  3. (intransitive) To have the throat obstructed so as to be in danger of suffocation; to choke; to suffocate.
  4. (intransitive) To breathe hard, as when nearly suffocated.
  5. (transitive) To utter with breaks and interruption, in the manner of a person half suffocated.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.