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

Some of this might even depend on how forcefully a person coughs or sneezes. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "Here’s How Far Germs Spread Through Sneezing and Coughing," 13 Feb. 2019 Many coughed and sneezed, and some children cried and ran out. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "How’s the Air in London? ‘We Should Be Worried’," 22 Apr. 2018 Measles, which is a highly contagious virus, spreads through coughing and sneezing and can live for up to two hours in the area where a person has coughed or sneezed, the CDC says. Sarah Gray, Time, "People Might Have Been Exposed to Measles Near St. Louis," 21 Mar. 2018 Milton has a theory that flu causes worse symptoms if inhaled on tiny, airborne particles rather than from larger particles that are coughed or sneezed out and either breathed in or picked up from a surface. NBC News, "Sneeze machine study takes a deep dive into how flu spreads," 13 Feb. 2018 Normally, an adenovirus, which is easily spread through touch, coughing or sneezing, would cause a mild illness with cold-like symptoms in otherwise healthy people. Melanie Grayce West, WSJ, "Virus Kills Seven Children at New Jersey Medical Facility," 24 Oct. 2018 When the whole arm is paralyzed, nerves must be diverted from the ribs and children must learn how to activate their arm by coughing or whistling. Sumathi Reddy, WSJ, "Another Burst of Polio-Like Cases in Children Alarms Doctors," 5 Nov. 2018 Today, two more international flights were evaluated by public health officials because people on board were coughing and had sore throats. Rachel Becker, The Verge, "CDC investigates two more flights that landed with coughing passengers," 6 Sep. 2018 The toddler had been vomiting, coughing and suffered from diarrhea. Washington Post, "For Yemeni mothers, skipped meals and gnawing stomachs," 3 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Early symptoms include a high fever, cough, runny nose and red, watery eyes, followed by tiny, white spots (Koplik spots) on the inside of the mouth and the red, bumpy rash that people most commonly associate with the infection. Brianna Abbott, WSJ, "Washington State Becomes Latest Hot Spot in Measles Outbreak," 23 Jan. 2019 Even if a coworker is sick, can’t (or won’t) stay home, and is doing the polite thing of covering their coughs and sneezes, their germs are still spreading. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "These 7 Things at Your Office Are Especially Germy," 22 Feb. 2019 Officials say at least 10 people were taken to the hospital after an Emirates Airline plane from Dubai landed in New York City with about 100 passengers and crewmembers who reported feeling ill, some with a cough and a fever. Katherine Lam, Fox News, "Emirates plane carrying sick passengers lands at JFK airport, officials say," 2 Oct. 2018 Jay KarrThe Island Packet Even dogs are are coming down with something like our flu, complete with a cough. Jeneé Osterheldt, kansascity, "Don’t touch me! No handshakes or hugs! I don’t want your $#@* flu," 30 Jan. 2018 Symptoms include high fever — up to 103 or 104 degrees Fahrenheit — stomach pains, headaches, a loss of appetite, constipation, cough, and sometimes rashes. Elise Takahama And Felice J. Freyer, BostonGlobe.com, "Typhoid fever case reported at Quincy day care center," 10 May 2018 Netanyahu's doctors admitted him late Tuesday with a high temperature and a cough. Fox News, "Israeli PM discharged from hospital with minor infection," 28 Mar. 2018 Most everyone has a cough and especially the children are often battling colds, said resident Emma Alvarez Lopez, who helps look after children. BostonGlobe.com, "6 months after Mexico quake, some still camp outside homes," 20 Mar. 2018 Her 10-week-old daughter, Isabelle, contracted whooping cough at just six weeks old and now Annie is urging other parents to vaccinate their children. Marlisse Cepeda, Woman's Day, "One Mom's Facebook Post Begging Other Parents to Vaccinate Their Kids Is Going Viral," 27 June 2016

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

19 Feb 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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