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 upcough 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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Droplets can travel further than 6 feet when people cough, sneeze or speak loudly. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, "Would you do this, doc? COVID-19 experts here weigh in on 10 options," 25 June 2020 Police in California are looking for a woman who was seen on surveillance footage appearing to deliberately cough in the face of a 1-year-old baby after an argument with the child’s mother. Fox News, "California police seeking woman who intentionally coughed on 1-year-old baby after argument with mother," 23 June 2020 Dear Annie: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, my husband doesn't cough or sneeze into his arm. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Coughers, sneezers need to use tissue, or elbow," 17 June 2020 Dear Annie: Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, my husband doesn’t cough or sneeze into his arm. cleveland, "Dear Annie: Please mind your sneezes," 16 June 2020 Having patients test themselves also reduces the risk of infecting health care workers because the longer swabs can prompt patients to cough or sneeze onto the health care worker who’s swabbing them. Catherine Ho, SFChronicle.com, "Don’t want a long swab up your nose? Bay Area coronavirus test sites are trying alternatives," 15 June 2020 The coroanvirus can be spread through respiratory droplets when people cough, sneeze or talk. David A. Lieb, Anchorage Daily News, "Coronavirus masks reveal partisan split among state lawmakers nationwide," 9 June 2020 These people never cough or sneeze, which are the virus’ main modes of transportation. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "What you need to know about the WHO’s new statements on Covid-19 transmission," 9 June 2020 The virus is dispersed by microscopic droplets in the air when people cough, sneeze, sing or talk. Bloomberg.com, "DC Mayor: We Have to Be Concerned About Virus Rebound," 7 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cohen previously detailed his coronavirus symptoms, including fever, tightness in his chest, cough, aches and pains, exhaustion, and some chills, as well as a total loss of smell and appetite. Benjamin Vanhoose, PEOPLE.com, "Andy Cohen Says He's Gained Back the Weight Lost During His Coronavirus Battle: 'I Feel Pretty Good'," 26 June 2020 Sore throat, headache, cough, paying attention to that. Cnn Staff, CNN, "When Can I See My Grandkids? Dr. Sanjay Gupta's coronavirus podcast for June 25," 25 June 2020 The church says those experiencing symptoms including a cough, runny nose or fever in the last 14 days should stay clear and tune in from home. Cincinnati.com, "Crossroads Church to reopen select locations with reduced seating capacities," 23 June 2020 His sons were toward the back of the crowd, but close enough to witness the chaos and cough at the gas. Sydney Trent, Washington Post, "Young Asians and Latinos push their parents to acknowledge racism amid protests," 21 June 2020 Two kinds of popular children's cough syrups are being recalled for a potential overdose risk. Kelly Tyko, USA TODAY, "Children's cough medicine recall 2020: Select Robitussin, Dimetapp recalled for potential overdose risk," 21 June 2020 Upper respiratory tract symptoms of cough and congestion preceded onset of GI symptoms, researchers said. Fox News, "Babies with COVID-19 tend to have mild illness, study finds," 20 June 2020 Overall, the most common single symptom was a cough (50.3%), followed by fever (43.1). Los Angeles Times, "Six charts show how Americans have been affected by COVID-19," 16 June 2020 Shina was hospitalized days later after initially suffering from only a cough, which the family initially attributed to seasonal allergies. Ethan May, The Indianapolis Star, "'A love story': Joe and Shina Kotarski, married 55 years, died days apart of coronavirus," 16 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cough

Time Traveler for cough

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for cough

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cough. Accessed 8 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cough

cough

verb
How to pronounce cough (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cough

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cough

Spanish Central: Translation of 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

What made you want to look up cough? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!