Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Cough \Cough\ (k?f), v. i. [imp. & p. p. Coughed (k?ft); p. pr. & vb. n. Coughing.] [Cf. D. kuchen, MHG. k?chen to breathe, G. keuchen to pant, and E. chincough, the first part of which is prob. akin to cough; cf. also E. choke.] To expel air, or obstructing or irritating matter, from the lungs or air passages, in a noisy and violent manner.
Cough \Cough\, v. t.
To expel from the lungs or air passages by coughing; -- followed by up; as, to cough up phlegm.
To bring to a specified state by coughing; as, he coughed himself hoarse.
To cough down, to silence or put down (an objectionable speaker) by simulated coughing.
Cough \Cough\, n. [Cg. D. kuch. See Cough, v. i. ]
A sudden, noisy, and violent expulsion of air from the chest, caused by irritation in the air passages, or by the reflex action of nervous or gastric disorder, etc.
The more or less frequent repetition of coughing, constituting a symptom of disease.
Stomach cough, Ear cough, cough due to irritation in the stomach or ear.
A cough is a sudden and often repetitively occurring reflex which helps to clear the large breathing passages from secretions, irritants, foreign particles and microbes. The cough reflex consists of three phases: an inhalation, a forced exhalation against a closed glottis, and a violent release of air from the lungs following opening of the glottis, usually accompanied by a distinctive sound. Coughing is either voluntary or involuntary.
Frequent coughing usually indicates the presence of a disease. Many viruses and bacteria benefit evolutionarily by causing the host to cough, which helps to spread the disease to new hosts. Most of the time, irregular coughing is caused by a respiratory tract infection but can also be triggered by choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, post-nasal drip, chronic bronchitis, lung tumors, heart failure and medications such as ACE inhibitors.
Treatment should target the cause; for example, smoking cessation or discontinuing ACE inhibitors. Cough suppressants such as codeine or dextromethorphan are frequently prescribed, but have been demonstrated to have little effect. Other treatment options may target airway inflammation or may promote mucus expectoration. As it is a natural protective reflex, suppressing the cough reflex might have damaging effects, especially if the cough is productive.
n. 1 A sudden, usually noisy expulsion of air from the lungs, often involuntary. 2 A condition that causes one to cough; a tendency to cough. 3 (non-gloss definition lang=en Used to focus attention on a following utterance, often a euphemism or an attribution of blame) vb. To push air from the lungs in a quick, noisy explosion.
v. exhale abruptly, as when one has a chest cold or congestion; "The smoker coughs all day"
Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
early 14c., coughen, probably in Old English, but not recorded, from Proto-Germanic *kokh- (with the rough "kh" of German or of Scottish loch; cognates: Middle Dutch kochen, Middle High German kuchen). Onomatopoeic. Related: Coughed; coughing. As a noun from c.1300.
Usage examples of "cough".
It causes tickling and frequent desire to clear the throat, change, weakness, or entire loss of voice, and difficulty of breathing, frequently giving rise to the most persistent and aggravating cough.
It causes tickling and frequent desire to clear the throat, also change, weakness and loss of voice, and often gives rise to a very persistent and aggravating cough.
Then the memory passed and Alman, weak from privations and older than his years, hunched in on himself in a series of racking coughs.
Then the memory passed and Alman, weak from privations and older than his years, hunched in on himself in a series of wracking coughs.
When the whale is ill, the ambergris is formed--I suppose you could say it is no more complicated than the process by which phlegm is formed in your throat when you have a cold, and the whale coughs it up, or spews it out in the form of a liquid which hardens on exposure to the air.
Mac Ard, after hearing the first few notes, sat back in his chair with an audible cough of surprise and admiration, shaking his head and stroking his beard.
The little concierge stepped from behind an enormous potted aspidistra and coughed softly into his fist.
Brother Peter coughed, Aumery succumbed to a fit of snorting laughter.
Rawnie coughed again, her body shaking, her bangles tinkling and jangling.
An elderly mouselike man who was drinking at the bar beside him coughed apologetically and edged bashfully nearer.
Abruptly she tilted lifted the cup to her mouth unsteadily and gulped the contents, choking and coughing, then thrust it out toward Bayle for more.
Well, two days ago, my dear friend begged the abbess and my aunt to allow me to sleep in her room in the place of the lay-sister, who, having a very bad cold, had carried her cough to the infirmary.
There, in that moribund, ancient town, wrapped in its siesta, flagellated with heat, deserted, ignored, baking in a noon-day silence, these two strange men, the one a poet by nature, the other by training, both out of tune with their world, dreamers, introspective, morbid, lost and unfamiliar at that end-of-the-century time, searching for a sign, groping and baffled amidst the perplexing obscurity of the Delusion, sat over empty wine glasses, silent with the pervading silence that surrounded them, hearing only the cooing of doves and the drone of bees, the quiet so profound, that at length they could plainly distinguish at intervals the puffing and coughing of a locomotive switching cars in the station yard of Bonneville.
He coughed to cover the copy completion bleep, then palmed the disk, slipping it into the trashcan by the door as the janitor moved into Processing to sweep.
Mr Ibbs cooks bloaters, while his sister screams, while Gentleman coughs in his bed, while Mrs Sucksby turns in hers, and snores, and sighs.