A hiccup is an extraordinary type of respiratory movement involving a sudden inspiration (intake of air) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the glottis (the vocal apparatus of the larynx). 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. They are usually 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 forms of "hiccups" include "hiccough" and "hickup."

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hic·cup also hic·cough 'hik-(.)əp n
1) a spasmodic inhalation with closure of the glottis accompanied by a peculiar sound
2) an attack of hiccuping usu. used in pl. but sing. or pl. in constr. <severe \hiccups is sometimes seen after operation (Lancet)> <intractable \hiccup...may be successfully treated (Jour. Amer. Med. Assoc.)>
hiccup also hiccough vi, hic·cuped also hic·cupped or hic·coughed; hic·cup·ing also hic·cup·ping or hic·cough·ing to make a hiccup also to be affected with hiccups
hic·cup·er also hic·cough·er n

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abrupt involuntary lowering of the diaphragm and closure of the sound-producing folds at the upper end of the trachea, producing a characteristic sound as the breath is drawn in. Hiccups, which usually occur repeatedly, may be caused by indigestion or more serious disorders, such as alcoholism. Medical name: singultus.

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hic·cup (hikґəp) an involuntary spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm, causing a beginning inhalation that is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, causing a characteristic sound; called also hiccough and singultus.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • hiccup — (also hiccough (pronounced same)) ► NOUN 1) an involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic gulping sound. 2) a minor difficulty or setback. ► VERB (hiccuped, hiccuping) ▪… …   English terms dictionary

  • hiccup — [hik′up΄, hik′əp] n. [altered < Early ModE hikop, hickock, hicket, of echoic orig. (as also in MDu huckup): var. sp. from assoc. with COUGH] 1. a sudden, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm when it begins to allow air into the lungs only… …   English World dictionary

  • hiccup — has inflected forms hiccuped, hiccuping. The spelling hiccough, formed by false association with cough, has nothing to recommend it …   Modern English usage

  • Hiccup — For the Canadian comedy, see Hiccups (TV series). Singultus ICD 10 R06.6 ICD 9 786.8 DiseasesDB …   Wikipedia

  • hiccup — I = hiccough hiccup UK [ˈhɪkʌp] / US [ˈhɪˌkʌp] or hiccough UK / US noun [countable] Word forms hiccup : singular hiccup plural hiccups Word forms hiccough : singular hiccough plural hiccoughs 1) a short repeated sound that you make in your throat …   English dictionary

  • hiccup — [[t]hɪ̱kʌp[/t]] hiccups, hiccuping, hiccupping (present participle), hiccuped, hiccupped (past tense & past participle) also hiccough 1) N COUNT: usu with supp, oft n N, N in n You can refer to a small problem or difficulty as a hiccup,… …   English dictionary

  • hiccup — (also hiccough) noun 1 sound made in the throat ADJECTIVE ▪ small ▪ loud VERB + HICCUP ▪ give, let out ▪ She gave a l …   Collocations dictionary

  • hiccup — {{11}}hiccup (n.) 1570s, hickop, earlier hicket, hyckock, a word meant to imitate the sound produced by the convulsion of the diaphragm [Abram Smythe Farmer, Folk Etymology, London, 1882]. Cf. Fr. hoquet, Dan. hikke, etc. Modern spelling first… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hiccup — /hik up, euhp/, n., v., hiccuped or hiccupped, hiccuping or hiccupping. n. 1. a quick, involuntary inhalation that follows a spasm of the diaphragm and is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, producing a short, relatively sharp sound. 2.… …   Universalium

  • Hiccup — A slang term for a short term disruption within a longer term plan, goal, or trend. A hiccup can be used to describe the business actions of a particular company, a stock price downturn, or the stock market as a whole. Generally, a hiccup is not… …   Investment dictionary

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