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cough

Syllabification: cough
Pronunciation: /kôf
 
/

Definition of cough in English:

verb

[no object]
1Expel air from the lungs with a sudden sharp sound.
Example sentences
  • I sucked in a sharp breath, almost coughing on it.
  • They felt their way forward towards the sound of a woman coughing.
  • We also hear incidental sounds like children coughing and yelling, objects being moved, and so on.
1.1(Of an engine) make a sudden harsh noise, especially as a sign of malfunction.
Example sentences
  • The engine is coughing and spluttering and nobody knows quite how to keep the thing going.
  • And from the deep bowels of the ship, an engine coughed, spluttered and finally came on with a roar.
  • The boat's engine had coughed and wheezed for a good ten minutes before he had been able to coax it into working order.
1.2 [with object] Force (something, especially blood) out of the lungs or throat by coughing: he coughed up bloodstained fluid
More example sentences
  • In any event, it was unlikely that the blood in the lungs resulted from the nosebleed or coughing blood from the lungs.
  • But just when it looked as if she was about to realise the American dream, she coughed blood into a handkerchief and her doctor diagnosed tuberculosis.
  • She screamed in pain again and started coughing blood.
Synonyms
hack, hawk, bark, clear one's throat, hem
1.3 [with object] (cough something out) Say something in a harsh, abrupt way: he coughed out his orders
More example sentences
  • He coughed the word out to show his disagreement.
  • Bruce took the joke and coughed a forced laugh out.

noun

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1An act or sound of coughing: she gave a discreet cough
More example sentences
  • He was staring at the fireplace, his eyes wide, trying to figure out what was wrong with him when he was snapped out of his reverie by the sound of a gentle cough behind him.
  • The sound of her gun dropping had cued him in, although Eric had tried earnestly to cover the sound with a cough.
  • The sound of a loud cough startled the two, and they looked up to see Jay standing in his parking space near them.
Synonyms
hack, bark
1.1A condition of the respiratory organs causing coughing: he looked feverish and had a bad cough
More example sentences
  • Not surprisingly, malnourishment and illness like fevers, coughs, malaria, scabies and diarrhoea are common.
  • She had for weeks been suffering from a bad cough and chest infection.
  • Most were children or the elderly suffering from dermatitis, coughs and respiratory problems, he said.

Origin

Middle English: of imitative origin; related to Dutch kuchen 'to cough' and German keuchen 'to pant'.

Phrasal verbs

cough something up (or cough up)

1
informal Give something reluctantly, especially money or information that is due or required.
Example sentences
  • When your automated teller machines divide and arrange your money before coughing it up, they are all using partition theory.
  • The authorities intervened and forbade them from leaving till the amount was coughed up.
  • When they didn't have the ball, they strangled opponents into coughing it up.
Synonyms
pay, pay up, come up with, hand over, dish out, part with;
fork out, shell out, lay out, ante up, pony up

Words that rhyme with cough

boff, doff, far-off, off, quaff, roll-on roll-off, scoff, telling-off, toff, trough

Definition of cough in:

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