Etymology: Middle English, alteration of achoken, from Old English ācēocian, from ā-, perfective prefix + cēoce, cēace jaw, cheek — more at abide, cheek
Date: 14th century
1. to check or block normal breathing of by compressing or obstructing the trachea or by poisoning or adulterating available air
a. to check or hinder the growth, development, or activity of <the flowers were choked by the weeds> b. to obstruct by filling up or clogging <leaves choked the drain> c. to fill completely ; jam <roads choked with traffic> 3. to enrich the fuel mixture of (a motor) by partially shutting off the air intake of the carburetor 4. to grip (as a baseball bat) some distance from the end of the handle — usually used with up intransitive verb 1. to become choked in breathing <he choked on a bone> 2. a. to become obstructed or checked b. to become or feel constricted in the throat (as from strong emotion) — usually used with up <choked up and couldn't finish the speech> 3. to shorten one's grip especially on the handle of a bat — usually used with up 4. to lose one's composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation <had a chance to win the game but he choked> II. noun Date: 1736 1. [by folk etymology from artichoke] the filamentous inedible center of an artichoke flower head; broadly an artichoke flower head 2. something that obstructs passage or flow: as a. a valve for choking a gasoline engine b. a constriction in an outlet (as of an oil well) that restricts flow c. reactor 2 d. a constriction (as a narrowing of the barrel or an attachment) at the muzzle of a shotgun that serves to limit the spread of shot 3. the act of choking
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.