- 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.
- Usually hiccups. the condition of having such spasms: She got the hiccups just as she began to speak.
- Informal. a minor difficulty, interruption, setback, etc.: a hiccup in the stock market.
- to make the sound of a hiccup: The motor hiccuped as it started.
- to have the hiccups.
- Informal. to experience a temporary decline, setback, interruption, etc.: There was general alarm when the economy hiccuped.
Origin of hiccup
Examples from the Web for hiccough
She had a hiccough and drops of blood oozed from the corners of her mouth.L'Assommoir
Ernest turned a chuckle into a hiccough and followed Roger over to the well.The Forbidden Trail
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."The Book of Humorous Verse
Hiccough is quite frequent in hysteria in girls, but it is of no consequence.The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.)
- a spasm of the diaphragm producing a sudden breathing in followed by a closing of the glottis, resulting in a sharp soundTechnical name: singultus
- the state or condition of having such spasms
- informal a minor difficulty or problem
- (intr) to make a hiccup or hiccups
- (tr) to utter with a hiccup or hiccups
Word Origin and History for hiccough
1620s, variant of hiccup (q.v.) by mistaken association with cough.
1580s; see 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.
- A spasm of the diaphragm causing sudden inhalation interrupted by spasmodic closure of the glottis, producing a characteristic noise.