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cough

[kawf, kof]
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verb (used without object)
  1. to expel air from the lungs suddenly with a harsh noise, often involuntarily.
  2. (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.
  3. to make a similar sound, as a machine gun firing in spurts.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to expel by coughing (usually followed by up or out): to cough up phlegm.
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noun
  1. the act or sound of coughing.
  2. an illness characterized by frequent coughing.
  3. a sound similar to a cough, a machine gun, or an engine firing improperly.
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Verb Phrases
  1. cough up, Slang.
    1. to relinquish, especially reluctantly; contribute; give.
    2. 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.
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Origin of cough

1275–1325; Middle English coghen, apparently < Old English *cohhian (compare its derivative cohhettan to cough); akin to Dutch kuchen to cough, German keuchen to wheeze
Related formscough·er, noun
Can be confusedcough cuff koph
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

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British Dictionary definitions for cough up

cough up

verb (adverb)
  1. informal to surrender (money, information, etc), esp reluctantly
  2. (tr) to bring into the mouth or eject (phlegm, food, etc) by coughing
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cough

verb
  1. (intr) to expel air or solid matter from the lungs abruptly and explosively through the partially closed vocal chords
  2. (intr) to make a sound similar to this
  3. (tr) to utter or express with a cough or coughs
  4. (intr) slang to confess to a crime
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noun
  1. an act, instance, or sound of coughing
  2. a condition of the lungs or throat that causes frequent coughing
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Derived Formscougher, noun

Word Origin

Old English cohhetten; related to Middle Dutch kochen, Middle High German kūchen to wheeze; probably 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 cough up

cough

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cough up in Medicine

cough

(kôf)
v.
  1. To expel air from the lungs suddenly and noisily, often to keep the respiratory passages free of irritating material.
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n.
  1. The act of coughing.
  2. An illness marked by frequent coughing.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

cough up in Science

cough

[kôf, kŏf]
  1. The act of expelling air from the lungs suddenly and noisily, often to keep the respiratory passages free of irritating material.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with cough up

cough up

1

Hand over or relinquish, especially money; pay up. For example, It's time the delinquent members coughed up their dues. [Slang; late 1800s]

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2

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]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.