Etymology
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stifle (v.)

late 14c., "to choke, suffocate, drown," of uncertain origin, possibly an alteration of Old French estouffer "to stifle, smother" (Modern French étouffer), itself of uncertain etymology, perhaps from a Germanic source (compare Old High German stopfon "to plug up, stuff"). Metaphoric sense is from 1570s. Related: Stifled; stifling.

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smother (v.)
c. 1200, "to suffocate with smoke," from smother (n.), earlier smorthre "dense, suffocating smoke" (late 12c.), from stem of Old English smorian "to suffocate, choke, strangle, stifle," cognate with Middle Dutch smoren, German schmoren; possibly connected to smolder. Meaning "to kill by suffocation in any manner" is from 1540s; sense of "to extinguish a fire" is from 1590s. Sense of "stifle, repress" is first recorded 1570s; meaning "to cover thickly (with some substance)" is from 1590s. Related: Smothered; smothering.
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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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suffocation (n.)

late 14c., suffocacioun, "obstruction of breathing, choking," from Old French suffocation, suffocacion and directly from Latin suffocationem (nominative suffocatio) "a choking, stifling," noun of action from past-participle stem of suffocare "suffocate, throttle, stifle, strangle," originally "to narrow up," from sub "up (from under)" (see sub-) + fauces (plural) "throat, narrow entrance" (see faucet).

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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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extinguish (v.)

"to put out, quench, stifle," 1540s, from Latin extinguere/exstinguere "quench, put out (what is burning); wipe out, obliterate," from ex "out" (see ex-) + stinguere "quench," apparently an evolved sense from PIE *steig- "to prick, stick, pierce" (see stick (v.)). But see distinguish (v.). Related: Extinguished; extinguishing.

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suppress (v.)

late 14c. (implied in suppressing) "be burdensome;" 1520s as "put down by force or authority," from Latin suppressus, past participle of supprimere "press down, stop, hold back, check, stifle," from assimilated form of sub "below, under" (see sub-) + premere "to press, hold fast, cover, crowd, compress" (from PIE root *per- (4) "to strike"). Sense of "prevent or prohibit the circulation of" is from 1550s of publications; medical use from 1620s. Related: Suppressed; suppressing.

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funk (n.2)
"bad smell," 1620s, probably from the verb funk in the sense "blow smoke upon; stifle with offensive vapor" (though this is not recorded until later 17c.). It is from dialectal French funkière "to smoke," from Old French fungier "give off smoke; fill with smoke," from Latin fumigare "to smoke" (see fume (n.)).

Not considered to be related to obsolete funk (n.) "a spark," mid-14c., fonke, a general Germanic word (compare Dutch vonk, Old High German funcho, German Funke. The Middle English word is probably from Low German or from an unrecorded Old English form.

In reference to a style of music felt to have a strong, earthy quality, it is attested by 1959, a back-formation from funky (q.v.).
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stop (v.)

Old English -stoppian (in forstoppian "to stop up, stifle"), a general West Germanic word, cognate with Old Saxon stuppon, West Frisian stopje, Middle Low German stoppen, Old High German stopfon, German stopfen "to plug, stop up," Old Low Frankish (be)stuppon "to stop (the ears)."

These words are said by many sources to be a Germanic borrowing of Vulgar Latin *stuppare "to stop or stuff with tow or oakum" (source of Italian stoppare, French étouper "to stop with tow"), from Latin stuppa "coarse part of flax, tow." In support of this theory, it is said that plugs made of tow were used from ancient times in Rhine valley. Century Dictionary says this "suits phonetically," but "is on grounds of meaning somewhat doubtful." Barnhart, for one, proposes the whole Germanic group might be native, from a base *stoppon.

Sense of "bring or come to a halt, discontinue" (mid-15c.) is from notion of preventing a flow by blocking a hole, and the word's development in this sense is unique to English, though it since has been widely adopted in other languages; perhaps influenced by Latin stupere "be stunned, be stupefied." Intransitive meaning "check oneself" is from 1680s. Meaning "make a halt or stay, tarry" is from 1711. Stop-light is from 1922; stop-sign is from 1918. Stop-motion is from 1851, originally of looms. Related: Stopped; stopping.

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