cough

verb
\ ˈkȯf How to pronounce cough (audio) \
coughed; coughing; coughs

Definition of cough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to expel air from the lungs suddenly with a sharp, short noise : to emit a cough (see cough entry 2 sense 1) The dust made him cough repeatedly.
2 : to make a noise like that of coughing The engine coughed and sputtered and then stopped.

transitive verb

: to expel by coughing often used with up cough up mucus

cough

noun

Definition of cough (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sudden, sharp-sounding expulsion of air from the lungs acting as a protective mechanism to clear the air passages or as a symptom of pulmonary disturbance
2 : a condition marked by repeated or frequent coughing She has a bad cough.

Examples of cough in a Sentence

Verb She was coughing and sneezing all day. The dust made him cough. The engine coughed and sputtered and then stopped. Noun He has a cough and a cold. They both have bad coughs. I heard a cough from the back of the church.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At a time when the standard COVID-19 test relied on a cotton-swab probe deep inside the nostrils, Curative promised accurate results if people would just cough and swab their mouths — an approach that differed from established science. Los Angeles Times, "COVID-19 turned a tiny start-up into a testing giant. But can its results be trusted?," 24 Mar. 2021 People would even cough at them and shout racial slurs. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Envy Gaming pledges action after Dallas Fuel’s ‘Fearless’ speaks out about racism he, teammates have experienced in Dallas," 6 Apr. 2021 Before intervening, give the child the chance to cough out the food. Lauren Harrison, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Safe Kids Carroll County: Food choices and mealtime behavior can prevent choking," 3 Apr. 2021 People cough, sneeze or simply breathe out particles constantly. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "The first single-dose Covid-19 vaccine is here," 1 Mar. 2021 Teach them to cough and sneeze into their elbows rather than into their hands. New York Times, "Why Common Colds Might Spike When Kids Return to School," 26 Feb. 2021 Takes off his mask to cough and blow his nose, at which point Larry leaves him by the side of the road. Kara Baskin, BostonGlobe.com, "How would Larry David handle Governor Baker’s new ‘companion appointments’?," 12 Feb. 2021 For this research, New Mexico State University investigators used an air generator to blow tiny liquid particles, similar to sneeze and cough droplets, through laser sheets in an airtight square tube outfitted with a camera. Julie Washington, cleveland, "It takes masks plus social distancing to stop spread of coronavirus, new research says," 23 Dec. 2020 Throughout the press conference, Rudy Giuliani used the same cloth to cough into and wipe his face. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Rudy Giuliani's son tests positive for coronavirus after attending RNC press conference," 20 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Another Baffert horse, Merneith, tested positive for the cough suppressant dextrorphan after racing last summer at Del Mar in California. Stephen Whyno, chicagotribune.com, "What would a DQ mean for bettors? Does Bob Baffert have a history of doping horses? Q&A about Medina Spirit’s failed drug test.," 10 May 2021 Baffert explained that the hay in the stall was contaminated by a groom who was taking cough medicine. John Cherwa, Los Angeles Times, "Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit tests positive for an anti-inflammatory," 9 May 2021 Have a continuation of symptoms, including fatigue, shortness of breath, joint pain, chest pain, and cough that persist for more than two months, or 60 days, post COVID-19. Kristen Jordan Shamus, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Medicine opens clinics for adults, kids with long-haul COVID-19 problems," 3 May 2021 That gig used to require a bag with sharpies and cough drops. Philip Elliott, Time, "100 Days, the Global Pandemic Edition," 30 Apr. 2021 Known for its cooling effect, the chemical is used in cough drops and other medicines. Matthew Perrone, Star Tribune, "US vows again to ban menthol flavor in cigarettes, cigars," 29 Apr. 2021 The whooping-cough vaccine was developed in 1914, tuberculosis in 1921, diphtheria in 1923 — followed, most famously, by Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine in the early 1950s. New York Times, "How Humanity Gave Itself an Extra Life," 27 Apr. 2021 Remember each cough can spray a bunch of larger respiratory droplets at you like forcefully opening a fanny pack full of rice pilaf. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, "Did MIT Study Really Challenge 6-Foot Social Distancing For Covid-19 Coronavirus? Here’s What It Said," 26 Apr. 2021 Has exchanging candy and cough drops been the secret to bipartisanship this whole time? Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, "George W. Bush Says It's a Problem People Are Shocked by His Friendship With Michelle Obama," 20 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cough.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cough

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for cough

Verb and Noun

Middle English, from Old English *cohhian; akin to Middle High German kūchen to breathe heavily

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Time Traveler for cough

Time Traveler

The first known use of cough was in the 14th century

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Statistics for cough

Last Updated

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cough. Accessed 14 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for cough

cough

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to force air through your throat with a short, loud noise often because you are sick
: to make a noise like that of coughing

cough

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cough (Entry 2 of 2)

: a physical condition or illness that causes someone to cough
: an act of coughing or the sound made when someone coughs

cough

verb
\ ˈkȯf How to pronounce cough (audio) \
coughed; coughing

Kids Definition of cough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to force air from the lungs suddenly with a sharp short noise or series of noises
2 : to get rid of by coughing cough up mucus

cough

noun

Kids Definition of cough (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a condition in which there is severe or frequent coughing She has a bad cough.
2 : an act or sound of coughing a dry cough
\ ˈkȯf How to pronounce cough (audio) \

Medical Definition of cough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to expel air from the lungs suddenly with a sharp, short noise usually in a series of efforts

transitive verb

: to expel by coughing often used with up cough up mucus

cough

noun

Medical Definition of cough (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a condition marked by repeated, frequent coughing he has a bad cough
2 : a sudden, sharp-sounding expulsion of air from the lungs acting as a protective mechanism to clear the air passages or as a symptom of pulmonary disturbance

More from Merriam-Webster on cough

Nglish: Translation of cough for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cough for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cough

Comments on cough

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