cough

verb
\ˈkȯf \
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

The cats start sneezing and have nasal discharge but usually do not cough. Saryn Chorney, PEOPLE.com, "As Dog Flu Spreads from Brooklyn into Manhattan, N.Y.C. Veterinarians Issue Urgent Warnings to Pet Parents," 29 May 2018 These triggers provoke inflammation, constriction, and excessive mucus production in a person’s airways, which can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, and wheezing (an alarming whistling sound during breathing). Korin Miller, SELF, "7 People Describe What an Asthma Attack Actually Feels Like," 14 Nov. 2018 Dog Flu 2018 Nearly all dogs exposed to the illness become infected, and 80 percent show symptoms like coughing, lethargy, fever, decrease appetite, and a running nose. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "The Dog Flu Is Spreading Across the Country for the First Time In Years," 16 Aug. 2018 The Tigers coughed it up 16 times (25.4% of their possessions) in what ended up being a two-point loss. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Picks: Final Weekend of Regular Season Features Duke-UNC, Conference Championships, More," 2 Mar. 2018 Patients with lower blood concentration levels also bore the infectious bacteria in their sputum for longer periods of time — potentially spreading it by coughing, said Dr. Jan S. Fehr, one of the study’s lead authors. Emily Baumgaertner, New York Times, "TB Treatment May Leave Some Patients Contagious," 6 Apr. 2018 The virus spreads easily by coughing or sneezing and can live for up to two hours in an area where an infected person has been. Lynne Terry, OregonLive.com, "Low vaccination rates put some Oregon schools at high risk for measles," 11 Feb. 2018 The virus is most commonly transmitted by coughing and sneezing dogs, which can spread germs up to 20 feet. Howard Cohen, miamiherald, "Don’t just worry about your kids. Your dog — or cat — can get the flu, too.," 1 Feb. 2018 However, flu is spread by coughing and sneezing, so cleaning the areas is helpful, but not a guarantee. Jeanne Houck, Cincinnati.com, "Here's what Greater Cincinnati schools are doing about the flu," 23 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Orthodox Jewish community has already faced numerous outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases in recent years, including whooping cough and mumps. Julia Belluz, Vox, "New York’s Orthodox Jewish community is battling measles outbreaks. Vaccine deniers are to blame.," 9 Nov. 2018 Lee Ann Berkebile was just 4 years old when her mother took her to see the pediatrician in 1994 for a runny nose and cough. Michael Rubinkam, The Seattle Times, "AP Exclusive: Regulators OK’d child doc charged with abuse," 31 Oct. 2018 The most common flu symptoms are fever (though not always), cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, according to the CDC. Marisa Lascala, Good Housekeeping, "Flu Symptoms in Kids Come Suddenly, But You Can Act Fast If You Know What to Look For," 19 Oct. 2018 Symptoms include a cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, headaches, fatigue, body or muscle aches, and fever (although not everyone who has the flu gets a fever). Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "The 2019 Flu Season May Be as Deadly as 2018's — Here's How to Prepare Yourself," 3 Oct. 2018 Kinsa’s thermometers connect to smartphones and can take a fever and other symptoms like cough and sore throat entered into a mobile app to track suspected case of flu. Andy Marso, kansascity, "Missouri is epicenter of national flu outbreak, according to ‘smart thermometer’ app," 17 Jan. 2018 In the first stage of measles, most people develop a fever greater than 101 degrees, runny nose, watery eyes, and a cough. Catherine Rentz, baltimoresun.com, "Health officials confirm measles case in Maryland," 24 May 2018 But that wouldn't stop us from accepting them if they were left our doorsteps by an anonymous suitor (cough-Ryan Gosling-cough). Virginia Vanzanten, Redbook, "Here's the Stuff You Can Actually Afford from Gwyneth's Gift Guide," 17 Nov. 2014 This can lead to a persistent cough, labored breathing, and greater perceived exertion upon exercise, all of which are common among climbers or even just people traveling from sea level to Colorado. Brad Stulberg, Outside Online, "What Happens to Your Body When You Climb Everest," 11 June 2018

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

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

Noun

see cough entry 1

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Statistics for cough

Last Updated

10 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cough

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

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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 \
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 \

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

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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

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