student asking question

Is "asphyxiate" different from "suffocate"?


Native speaker’s answer


Yes, they are technically two different terms. Asphyxiation occurs when a substance interferes with the supply of oxygen to the brain, like choking on an object or drowning. On the other hand, suffocation is the process of dying when air supply is blocked from the body, like from smoke or gas inhalation. Ex: The cause of death was suffocation from smoke inhalation. Ex: Asphyxiation can be caused by drowning.

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