from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Very hot or stuffy almost to the point of being suffocating.
  • adj. Being of such a character or nature as to engender a feeling of stultification, repression, or suffocation: "The scholarly correctness of our age can be stifling” ( Annalyn Swan).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Describing something that stifles.
  • v. Present participle of stifle.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Close: oppressive; suffocating: as, a stifling atmosphere.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. forceful prevention; putting down by power or authority
  • adj. characterized by oppressive heat and humidity


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • "Well, it struck me, as I stood there with my head full of what we have been discussing, that the conditions of a girl's life of our own class are pleasant enough, but they are stifling, absolutely _stifling_; and not all the Emersons in the world will convince me to the contrary.

    The Daughters of Danaus

  • Through the first five games of this series, the Texas Rangers have succeeded for the most part in stifling Mr. Rodriguez, the Yankees third baseman.

    Same Old Ghost Story

  • To pay off their debt, they work terrible hours in stifling conditions at a Chinatown clothing factory.

    Jean Kwok's debut 'Girl in Translation' speaks eloquently

  • The grievance industry can be just as effective in stifling public debate as government censorship.

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  • In this case, he got everyone he wanted including Rosamund Pike who plays an upper class wife stuck in stifling domesticity.

    Regina Weinreich: Gents-Who Lunch: Nigel Cole and Alfred Uhry

  • Perez led NL pitchers in stifling left-handed hitters last season - they batted only .158 against him.

  • He wandered for hours, melting in stifling humidity, unable to make himself understood, and when he did finally find his hotel, he was barred from entering by guards who were unimpressed with his protestations in English and his lack of an invitation or an ID.

    Mr. Murdoch Goes to War

  • His trouble with the lefty Votto was strange - Perez led NL pitchers in stifling left-handed hitters last season, holding them to a .158 batting average.

  • It was all about personal service for your motor car, rather than having a vapid youth sell you wilting flowers in stifling cellophane to leave at a road accident.

    Oil and Gravy

  • His actions in stifling Anita Hill during her testimony put the “5th vote” on the court years before anyone realized how important that vote is, and will continue to be.

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