Etymology
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choke (v.)

c. 1300, transitive, "to stop the breath by preventing air from entering the windpipe;" late 14c., "to make to suffocate, deprive of the power of drawing breath," of persons as well as swallowed objects; a shortening of acheken (c. 1200), from Old English aceocian "to choke, suffocate," probably from root of ceoke "jaw, cheek" (see cheek (n.)), with intensive a-.

Intransitive sense from c. 1400. Meaning "gasp for breath" is from early 15c. Figurative use from c. 1400, in early use often with reference to weeds stifling the growth of useful plants (a Biblical image). Meaning "to fail in the clutch" is attested by 1976, American English. Related: Choked; choking.

The North American choke-cherry (1785) supposedly was so called for its astringent qualities: compare choke-apple "crab-apple" (1610s); and choke-pear (1530s) "kind of pear with an astringent taste" (also with a figurative sense, defined by Johnson as "Any aspersion or sarcasm, by which another person is put to silence)." Choked up "overcome with emotion and unable to speak" is attested by 1896. The baseball batting sense is by 1907.

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choke (n.)

1560s, "quinsy," from choke (v.). Meaning "action of choking" is from 1839. Meaning "valve which controls air to a carburetor" first recorded 1926; earlier it meant "constriction in the bore of a gun" (1875).

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choke-hold (n.)

"tight grip around a person's neck to restrict breathing," 1962, from choke (v.) + hold (n.1).

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choker (n.)

1550s, "one who chokes," agent noun from choke (v.). From 1848 as "large neckerchief;" as a kind of necklace worn against the throat, 1928.

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strangle (v.)
late 13c., from Old French estrangler "choke, suffocate, throttle" (Modern French étrangler), from Latin strangulare "to choke, stifle, check, constrain," from Greek strangalan "to choke, twist," from strangale "a halter, cord, lace," related to strangos "twisted," from PIE root *strenk- "tight, narrow; pull tight, twist" (see string (n.)). Related: Strangled; strangling.
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garrote (v.)
"to execute with a garrote," 1845, from garrote (n.); sense of "choke senseless and then rob" is from 1852. Related: Garotted; garotting.
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suffocate (v.)
early 15c. (transitive), "deprive of air, choke, kill by preventing access of air to the lungs," also figurative, "stifle, smother, extinguish," from Latin suffocatus, past participle of suffocare "to choke" (see suffocation). Intransitive use, "become choked, stifled, or smothered," is from 1702. Related: Suffocated; suffocating.
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swoon (v.)
c. 1200, "to become unconscious," probably from a lost Old English verb *swogan (as in Old English aswogan "to choke"), of uncertain origin. Compare Low German swogen "to sigh." Related: Swooned; swooning.
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clog (v.)

late 14c., "hinder, impede the movement of," originally by fastening a block of wood to something, from clog (n.). Meaning "choke up with extraneous matter" is 1670s; intransitive sense "become choked up with extraneous matter" is from 1755. Related: Clogged; clogging.

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