- to expel air from the lungs suddenly with a harsh noise, often involuntarily.
- (of an internal-combustion engine) to make a similar noise as a result of the failure of one or more cylinders to fire in sequence.
- to make a similar sound, as a machine gun firing in spurts.
- to expel by coughing (usually followed by up or out): to cough up phlegm.
- the act or sound of coughing.
- an illness characterized by frequent coughing.
- a sound similar to a cough, a machine gun, or an engine firing improperly.
- cough up, Slang.
- to relinquish, especially reluctantly; contribute; give.
- to blurt out; state, as by way of making a confession: After several hours of vigorous questioning by the police, he finally coughed up the information.
Origin of cough
- informal to surrender (money, information, etc), esp reluctantly
- (tr) to bring into the mouth or eject (phlegm, food, etc) by coughing
- (intr) to expel air or solid matter from the lungs abruptly and explosively through the partially closed vocal chords
- (intr) to make a sound similar to this
- (tr) to utter or express with a cough or coughs
- (intr) slang to confess to a crime
- an act, instance, or sound of coughing
- a condition of the lungs or throat that causes frequent coughing
Word Origin and History for cough up
early 14c., coughen, probably in Old English, but not recorded, from Proto-Germanic *kokh- (with the rough "kh" of German or of Scottish loch; cf. Middle Dutch kochen, Middle High German kuchen). Onomatopoeic. Related: Coughed; coughing. As a noun from c.1300.
- To expel air from the lungs suddenly and noisily, often to keep the respiratory passages free of irritating material.
- The act of coughing.
- An illness marked by frequent coughing.
- The act of expelling air from the lungs suddenly and noisily, often to keep the respiratory passages free of irritating material.
Idioms and Phrases with cough up
Hand over or relinquish, especially money; pay up. For example, It's time the delinquent members coughed up their dues. [Slang; late 1800s]
Confess or divulge, as in Pretty soon she'd cough up the whole story about last night. This idiom transfers the act of vomiting to telling the entire truth. [Slang; late 1800s]