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hic·cup also hic·cough (hĭkəp)
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n.
1.
a. A spasm of the diaphragm resulting in a rapid, involuntary inhalation that is stopped by the sudden closure of the glottis and accompanied by a sharp, distinctive sound.
b. hiccups also hiccoughs An attack of these spasms. Often used with the.
2. The sound made by such a spasm or a sound resembling it: "the urgent hiccup of a police siren" (John Updike).
3. A usually minor setback, impediment, or difficulty; a hitch: "As long as the Fed remains fearful to act lest it be blamed for any economic hiccup, market uncertainty will continue" (Kevin Brady).
intr.v. hic·cupped, hic·cup·ping, hic·cups also hic·coughed or hic·cough·ing or hic·coughs
1. To make a hiccup or a sound like a hiccup.
2. To have an attack of hiccups.

[Imitative.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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