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hiccup

or hic-cough

[hik-uhp, -uh p]
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noun
  1. a quick, involuntary inhalation that follows a spasm of the diaphragm and is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, producing a short, relatively sharp sound.
  2. Usually hiccups. the condition of having such spasms: She got the hiccups just as she began to speak.
  3. Informal. a minor difficulty, interruption, setback, etc.: a hiccup in the stock market.
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verb (used without object), hic·cuped or hic·cupped, hic·cup·ing or hic·cup·ping.
  1. to make the sound of a hiccup: The motor hiccuped as it started.
  2. to have the hiccups.
  3. Informal. to experience a temporary decline, setback, interruption, etc.: There was general alarm when the economy hiccuped.
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Origin of hiccup

1570–80; alteration of hocket, hickock, equivalent to hic + -ock; akin to Low German hick hiccup; see hocket
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for hiccough

Historical Examples

  • She had a hiccough and drops of blood oozed from the corners of her mouth.

    L'Assommoir

    Emile Zola

  • Ernest turned a chuckle into a hiccough and followed Roger over to the well.

    The Forbidden Trail

    Honor Willsie

  • From across the room sounded a hiccough that ended in a dry hacking cough.

    Bloom of Cactus

    Robert Ames Bennet

  • He say, "Again mon frien' ees wrong;O-u-g-h is 'up' In hiccough."

  • Hiccough is quite frequent in hysteria in girls, but it is of no consequence.


British Dictionary definitions for hiccough

hiccup

hiccough

noun
  1. a spasm of the diaphragm producing a sudden breathing in followed by a closing of the glottis, resulting in a sharp soundTechnical name: singultus
  2. the state or condition of having such spasms
  3. informal a minor difficulty or problem
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verb -cups, -cuping, -cuped, -cups, -cupping, -cupped, -coughs, -coughing or -coughed
  1. (intr) to make a hiccup or hiccups
  2. (tr) to utter with a hiccup or hiccups
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Word Origin

C16: of imitative origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hiccough

1620s, variant of hiccup (q.v.) by mistaken association with cough.

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hiccup

v.

1580s; see hiccup (n.).

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hiccup

n.

1570s, hickop, earlier hicket, hyckock, "a word meant to imitate the sound produced by the convulsion of the diaphragm" [Abram Smythe Farmer, "Folk-Etymology," London, 1882]. Cf. French hoquet, Danish hikke, etc. Modern spelling first recorded 1788; An Old English word for it was ælfsogoða, so called because hiccups were thought to be caused by elves.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hiccough in Medicine

hiccup

n.
  1. A spasm of the diaphragm causing sudden inhalation interrupted by spasmodic closure of the glottis, producing a characteristic noise.
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Related formshiccup null v.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.