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

Last fall on the California coast, hundreds of miles from any blazes, surfers were coughing in the lineup. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "Wildfire Smoke Is Here to Stay," 5 June 2019 In Indiana's Game 1, 18-point blowout win, the Cavs coughed it up 17 times for 20 points. Joe Vardon, cleveland.com, "Say what you will about LeBron James, Kevin Love, or the Raptors, Cavaliers are winning by avoiding turnovers," 4 May 2018 My brother covered his mouth as if to cough, and once more gave it the old college try. Mike Kerrigan, WSJ, "My Brother the Car Horn," 27 Nov. 2018 Last month, a co-worker seated directly in front of her at an Atlanta area advertising agency started coughing, and not quietly. Chip Cutter, WSJ, "You Sneezed. Go Home.," 24 Jan. 2019 Vanessa Trump opened the letter and later reported coughing and feeling nauseated. Leada Gore, AL.com, "Police identify white powder found in letter mailed to Vanessa Trump, president's daughter-in-law," 13 Feb. 2018 Already, Zahra’s respiratory muscles are wearing away, her parents say, making a minor cold or cough a dangerous medical event as coughing is difficult for her. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "One Family’s Struggle to Get Their Daughter Lifesaving Medication," 20 Jan. 2019 The families are drained after weeks of travel, coughing children and pinto beans. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "At the U.S. border, a diminished migrant caravan readies for an unwelcoming reception," 27 Apr. 2018 The Spartans coughed the ball up seven in the first 7 minutes, including three by Cassius Winston. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State's turnovers slow dominant night in 87-74 win vs. Illinois," 22 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Even being within a block of a cigarette smoker can bring on a cough that lasts for hours. Mary Emily O'hara, Allure, "Why People With Asthma Can Benefit From Edibles," 20 Apr. 2019 Snow is on the streets and many of the families are sick with colds, coughs, and migraines. Eve Macsweeney, Vogue, "In This Is Home, a Glimpse at the Reality of Life as a Resettled Refugee in the U.S.," 22 June 2018 There is a certain kind of movie cough that signals a very bad prognosis, and Helen Mirren has one in The Leisure Seeker. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Helen Mirren, Donald Sutherland hit dead end in road movie 'The Leisure Seeker.'," 14 Mar. 2018 But as the sun rose, a chorus of coughs arose from the shapeless forms wrapped in blankets and bits of plastic sheeting. Mark Stevenson, The Seattle Times, "Weary migrants still far reaching US border," 23 Oct. 2018 Measles symptoms appear roughly seven to 14 days after a person is infected and initially include a high fever, cough, runny nose and conjunctivitis. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Measles Q&A: Disease Is Serious, but Preventable," 9 Apr. 2019 You’re not guaranteed to get sick if someone sneezes or coughs on or near you. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Here’s How Far Germs Spread Through Sneezing and Coughing," 13 Feb. 2019 Brad and Amy eventually confront Project NOAH's head scientists and are brought face-to-face with what's really going on within the walls of the medical facility (*cough* vampires). Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Here’s How to Watch ‘The Passage,’ the New Fox Show Everyone’s Talking About," 21 Jan. 2019 Residents inundated Mayor Pyotr Lazarev with complaints of rashes, headaches and coughs. Washington Post, "A big stink erupts over landfills ringing Russia’s capital," 19 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 and Noun

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

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Statistics for cough

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

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 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

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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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