In science class I learnt about Asphyxia which means 'a condition arising when the body is deprived of oxygen, causing unconsciousness or death; suffocation.'

I wanted to construct a sentence like

The confines of the deep dark chamber was asphyxiatic which drove him into oblivion.

However on searching the net I found no such word as 'asphxyatic', although there is a word called asphyxiation. So is the sentence I constructed incorrect(because it is a medical term) and no such word exists?


The confines of the deep dark chamber was asphyxiating which drove him into oblivion.

meaning the chamber was so small it caused him to have trouble breathing, that is was claustrophobic.

  • Then, is such a sentence correct?: " The feeling of loosing him was so similar, asphyxiating, the feeling of loosing someone only and close" – Soumee Apr 3 '17 at 17:39
  • It depends on how extreme the feeling was of loosing a loved one, as an analogy suffocating might be the same as depression, whereas asphixiating would be the same as a panic attack. Suffocating implies trouble breathing, whereas asphyxiation implies death, so it depends how strongly you want to describe your feelings. For me, losing an elderly parent would be suffocating, but losing a child would be asphyxiating. – Peter Apr 3 '17 at 17:50
  • I can't accept the conjunction of plural confines with the singular verb form was. But I couldn't accept this particular metaphoric use of confines as the subject of a verb anyway. And according to Google Books, who say No results found for "confines were suffocating", nor could anyone else. – FumbleFingers Apr 3 '17 at 18:14
  • @FumbleFingers Hmm, I don't see anything wrong with "confines were suffocating". It seems a very reasonable metaphor. This page, beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2014/05/…, uses the phrase "suffocating confines", and seems coherent to me. I suppose "is this a reasonable metaphor" can be a subjective question. – Jay Apr 3 '17 at 19:54
  • @Jay: I've no problem with suffocating confines (that's an estimated 1380 written instances in Google Books). But such terms are very rarely used as the subject of a verb - particularly in contexts where it would be necessary to choose between the singular or plural verb form (which doesn't apply to, say, The suffocating confines of the next alley seemed a haven after the firestorm, which again I don't find problematic). But in the context of the example here I don't find the usage at all acceptable. – FumbleFingers Apr 3 '17 at 20:59

That would be incorrect. You could use asphyxiating but that really isn't every-day English. The word you really want is suffocating.

The confines of the deep dark chamber were suffocating, which drove him into oblivion.

That's how it would normally be said in English.


Point 1: I have never heard any such word as "asphxyatic", or what you probably meant, "asphyxiatic", nor can I find either in a dictionary. Maybe it's a technical medical term, but I don't think it's common English. As you note, there is the noun, "asphyxatiation", which seems to convey the idea you're looking for, or in context, you probably want the adjective "asphyxiating".

Point 2: "The confines of the deep dark chamber were asphyxiating, which drove him into oblivion" would be a valid sentence. "... were suffocating ..." also works.

Or you could simply say, "The deep dark chamber was asphyxiating ..."

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