- The definition of cough is to force air loudly, without warning through the opening between the vocal cords.
An example of to cough is clearing a tickle in your throat.
This woman has a cough.
- to expel air suddenly and noisily from the lungs through the glottis, either as the result of an involuntary muscular spasm in the throat or to clear the air passages
- to make a sound like this
Origin of coughMiddle English coughen, akin to Middle Dutch cuchen, to cough, German keuchen, to gasp
- to expel by coughing
- to express or utter by coughing
- the act or sound of coughing
- a condition, as of the lungs or throat, causing frequent coughing
- to bring up or eject (phlegm, food, etc.) by coughing
- ☆ Slang to hand over (money or the like)
verbcoughed, cough·ing, coughs
- To expel air from the lungs suddenly and noisily, often to keep the respiratory passages free of irritating material.
- To make a noise similar to noisy expulsion of air from the lungs: The engine coughed and died.
- The act of coughing.
- An illness marked by frequent coughing.
Origin of coughMiddle English coughen, ultimately of imitative origin.
(third-person singular simple present coughs, present participle coughing, simple past and past participle coughed)
- To push air from the lungs in a quick, noisy explosion.
- I breathed in a load of smoke by mistake, and started to cough.
- To make a noise like a cough.
- The engine coughed and sputtered.