smother | strangle

Hello again!
Please, consider the phrase: "The victim had been smothered with a belt". What difference in meaning would it make if we replaced the word "smothered" with the word "strangled"? Are these synonyms equal? Or are there some slight nuances in meaning?
 
  • Giorgio Spizzi

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Not so slight, I'd say.

    "Smother" is (to) kill from lack of air: you smother one with a pillow, for example, but a pillow wouldn't be the most practical weapon for strangling someone.

    GS
     
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    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    The dictionary definitions of smother and strangle are actually quite clear on this question. Both cause death by preventing the victim from getting enough air. The similarity ends there. It would actually be quite difficult to smother someone with a belt! Did you write this sentence - a source is always required for a question like this.
     
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    I think I get it now.
    When you prevent someone from breathing air without actually hurting them, you smother them.
    When you actually somehow squeeze someone's throat, you strangle them.
    Am I right?
     
    Why do you mention some dictionary? You are a native speaker, the best dictionary that has ever existed. Why can you not just say what you think the difference between these two words is? Who cares what is written in some dead dictionary? If I had wanted a dictionary definition, I would not have used the forum.
     

    JulianStuart

    Senior Member
    English (UK then US)
    <<Moderator note: The forum rules require you to search before starting a new thread. This will take you the defintions and any threads with those words in their titles. They are used by most people, native speakers and learners alike, to investigate and learn the meanings of words. The members of the forum do not function as your personal dictionary here.>>

    If you had said there was some part of the following definitions (or the difference between them) that was unclear for some reason or that you did not understand, that would have been an appropriate question to post If the definitions below are not clear to you, please indicate what your problem is with understanding the difference.

    Smother: to suffocate or stifle by cutting off or being cut off from the air


    Strangle: to kill by compressing the windpipe; throttle
     
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