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

The runny noses, coughing and headaches flared inside the students’ biology classroom at George Washington Middle School in Northern Virginia — subsiding once the children left. Washington Post, "‘We can change something’: These 13-year-olds found mold in their schools and did something about it," 30 June 2019 Symptoms of exposure include rashes, hives, diarrhea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing. Marie Fazio, chicagotribune.com, "Park District: Stay out of Humboldt Park lagoon due to toxic blue-green algae," 25 June 2019 In a new study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, researchers set out to determine how misophonia — extreme sensitivity to the sound of people chewing, coughing or eating — affects learning. Jamie Ducharme, Time, "Bothered By Noisy Eating? It May Affect Your Ability to Learn," 14 Feb. 2018 Breathing polluted air can cause shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing and chest pain, health officials said. Christopher Magan, Twin Cities, "State health officials: Air pollution hurts Minnesotans in rural areas, too," 11 June 2019 The train arrived as though summoned by the coughing spell that bent Isaac double. Adam O’fallon Price, Harper's magazine, "The Maid’s Story," 10 June 2019 Now, the news is full of predictions for when organic life will be coughed off the Earth's back. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "How The Cast & Creators Of Good Omens Think The World Will End," 5 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Many people believed that HIV could be contracted from a kiss, a cough, or even a toilet seat: fears that stigmatised suffers and contributed directly to the mishandling, by doctors and others, of the crisis. 1843, "How Keith Haring’s art forced us to talk about AIDS," 13 June 2019 As sunset nears, the land exhales with the cough of water buffalo, ticking toads, and an elephant’s trumpet in the distance. Ken Geiger, National Geographic, "Why walking safaris are the best way to see wildlife," 17 June 2019 Researchers also noted that the model only took into account viruses spread via coughs and sneezes, and not those that may lurk in the cabin air. Kashmira Gander, Newsweek, "How to Avoid Catching the Flu Virus on a Plane, According to New Study," 20 Mar. 2018 In response, the virtual assistant first coughs and makes a show of struggling to spit out the fact that the Patriots are, in fact, statistically favored to win the big game by oddsmakers. Tom Huddleston Jr., Fortune, "Amazon's Alexa Is Rooting for the Eagles Over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII," 1 Feb. 2018 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

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

9 Jul 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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