Definition of hiccup in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhikəp/
(also hiccough pronounced same)


1An involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic sound like that of a cough.
Example sentences
  • Everyday hiccups don't need medical treatment, as they will go away on their own.
  • The GP will examine you and look particularly for signs of the serious conditions that can cause persistent hiccups, such as an infection of the diaphragm.
  • Slowly my sobs subsided and all that was left was my hiccups which sounded off every once and a while.
1.1 (hiccups) An attack of hiccups occurring repeatedly for some time: he got the hiccups
1.2A temporary or minor difficulty or setback: just a little hiccup in our usual wonderful service
More example sentences
  • Overall it was a very successful day as everything went well with only a few minor hiccups and the weather was ideal.
  • Jake is back on his feet and is doing well apart from a couple of minor hiccups.
  • The data collection for the main study itself went smoothly, with only very minor local hiccups.

verb (hiccups, hiccuping or hiccupping, hiccuped or hiccupped)

[no object]
Suffer from or make the sound of a hiccup or series of hiccups.
Example sentences
  • Her dark eyes are wide with childish terror, and she hiccups so dramatically that, at first, she cannot speak at all.
  • She hiccuped a bit and her voice sounded almost slurred.
  • My eyes stung brutally and I started to hiccup.



Example sentences
  • ‘I-I-I'm sorry-y,’ she said through a hiccupy breath.
  • Edward strokes the back of my hair, shushes my huge hiccupy sobs, and says, ‘Stop it.’
  • She was in the throws of those gaspy hiccupy breaths that come after you've had a big overblown crying session.


Late 16th century: imitative; the form hiccough arose by association with cough.

Words that rhyme with hiccup

pickup, stick-up

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: hic·cup

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