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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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Definitions of stifle from WordNet
1
stifle (v.)
suppress in order to conceal or hide;
Synonyms: smother / strangle / muffle / repress
stifle (v.)
suppress or constrain so as to lessen in intensity;
Synonyms: dampen
stifle (v.)
impair the respiration of or obstruct the air passage of;
Synonyms: suffocate / asphyxiate / choke
stifle (v.)
be asphyxiated; die from lack of oxygen;
Synonyms: suffocate / asphyxiate
2
stifle (n.)
joint between the femur and tibia in a quadruped; corresponds to the human knee;
Synonyms: knee
From wordnet.princeton.edu