I am stumbling about full throttle. To throttle usually means to brake down or slowing down. Technically it is a flap which is reducing the air delivery which is important for the combustion process. So my natural understanding of full throttle would mean no air, no combustion, no power but it is used contradictional. How does this come?

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    I’m voting to close this question because it's a language use question and not about mechanics. It would probably be better on the English usage SE.
    – GdD
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 13:10
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    Full throttle equates to full power aka pedal to the metal aka give it the beanz etc
    – Solar Mike
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 13:36
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    @GdD - I disagree. It has to do with how an engine runs and to understand why. It's like when someone needs understanding of the difference between engaging/disengaging a clutch. Usually, pressing a pedal would mean to "engage" something, but it's the opposite of those things. This question has to do with the overall understanding of how a vehicle works, so in my non-mod view, should still stand. Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 14:23
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    Excellent questions. I have wondered this many times myself. Now I know the answer!
    – Saqib Ali
    Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 21:58
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    @Chenmunka to be pedantic, a fuel injected engine does indeed have a 'flap' (butterfly valve) in the throttle body Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 3:06

1 Answer 1


It is the difference between the verb and the noun.

You are right, the verb throttle means to restrict - to slow down flow, therefore to fully throttle is to stop the engine.

However, the noun throttle refers to the mechanism. Thus setting a full throttle means that the mechanism is set to fully open - unrestricted.

Don't ever expect the English language to be too logical.
The question has already been covered on English Language Learners.
e.g. https://ell.stackexchange.com/q/169310/4376 and https://ell.stackexchange.com/q/213233/4376

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    Nice examples! +1 one for a great, understandable answer, plus using resources on other stacks to make your point. Noice! Commented Jun 9, 2021 at 14:20
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    Indeed. Same reason people often call it the "gas pedal" even though it's really the "air pedal". Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 1:13
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    @whatsisname Well, air is a gas. ;) Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 3:06
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    @whatsisname How can we have logic on a world where people talk about the sun setting, but really it is the horizon rising? Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 12:14
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    Interestingly, in some romance languages (at least Italian, Catalan and Spanish) the noun for throttle comes from the verb meaning to accelerate instead of to restrict, and this particular paradox doesn't happen.
    – Pere
    Commented Jun 10, 2021 at 17:23

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