A hiccough is an extraordinary type of breathing movement involving a sudden intake of air (inspiration) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the vocal apparatus (glottis) of the larynx. A hiccough is also called a hiccup. The abrupt inspiration is the result of a sudden contraction of the diaphragm. Closure of the glottis then halts the incoming air. The column of air strikes the closed glottis to produce the characteristic sound: a hiccup. Hiccups are often rhythmic. If self-limited, they are just a minor nuisance, but prolonged hiccups can become a major medical problem. The word "hiccup" was in use by 1530. It is an instance of onomatopoeia, the imitation of natural sounds by words. Alternative terms for "hiccough" and "hiccups" include "hickup" and "singultus".

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hic·cough (hikґəp) hiccup.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hiccough — Hic cough (?; 277), n. [OE. hickup, hicket, hickock; prob. of imitative origin; cf. D. & Dan. hik, Sw. hicka, Armor. hak, hik, W. ig, F. hoquet.] (Physiol.) A modified respiratory movement; a spasmodic inspiration, consisting of a sudden… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Hiccough — Hic cough, v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Hiccoughed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Hiccoughing}.] To have a hiccough or hiccoughs. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hiccough — 1620s, variant of HICCUP (Cf. hiccup) (q.v.) by mistaken association with cough …   Etymology dictionary

  • hiccough — See hiccup, hiccough …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • hiccough — I noun (usually plural) the state of having reflex spasms of the diaphragm accompanied by a rapid closure of the glottis producing an audible sound; sometimes a symptom of indigestion how do you cure the hiccups? • Syn: ↑hiccup, ↑singultus •… …   Useful english dictionary

  • hiccough — I. noun see hiccup I II. intransitive verb see hiccup II …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • hiccough — see hiccup …   English dictionary

  • hiccough — hic·cough || hɪkÊŒp n. involuntary spasms of the diaphragm and throat muscles accompanied by an abrupt sound (also hiccup) v. make a hiccoughing noise; suffer from an attack of hiccoughs (spasmodic inhalation accompanied by an abrupt sound) …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hiccough — See: hiccup I …   English dictionary

  • hiccough —   Mauli awa …   English-Hawaiian dictionary

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