Definition of hiccup in English:


(also hiccough)


  • 1An involuntary spasm of the diaphragm and respiratory organs, with a sudden closure of the glottis and a characteristic gulping sound.

    ‘then she got hiccups’
    • ‘It was difficult to breathe inbetween his spasms of hiccups and tears.’
    • ‘She let out a watery little hiccough that sounded quite a bit like a sob.’
    • ‘I gulped it down gladly, and the hiccups slowed to a stop.’
    • ‘A case report published in Southern Medical Journal shows that lidocaine may be effective in treating chronic, intractable hiccups.’
    • ‘A giggle, more a hiccup in sound than anything, emerged from her pursed lips.’
    • ‘For example, there are over 100 different cures for hiccups, in both the medical and lay literature.’
    • ‘He let loose the loudest hiccup I'd ever heard and took another swig of something or other from his canteen.’
    • ‘The glottis suddenly closes and stops the inflow of air resulting in the sound of a hiccup.’
    • ‘Everyday hiccups don't need medical treatment, as they will go away on their own.’
    • ‘I had a normal pregnancy with no complications except that I got the hiccups a lot.’
    • ‘Slowly my sobs subsided and all that was left was my hiccups which sounded off every once and a while.’
    • ‘He treated a patient in the emergency room who suffered from hiccups every two seconds for three days.’
    • ‘Forget breathing into a paper bag, gulping down a glass of water or having someone scare the living daylights out of you to cure a case of hiccups.’
    • ‘Persistent hiccups (lasting for more than 48 hours) is rare, but may be caused by an underlying disease.’
    • ‘Maria tried to hold her tears in, but they escaped through strangled hiccups, and small shudders.’
    • ‘The GP will examine you and look particularly for signs of the serious conditions that can cause persistent hiccups, such as an infection of the diaphragm.’
    • ‘Other medications were tried but did not stop the hiccups.’
    • ‘I had to laugh when I saw your article on curing hiccups with a spoonful of sugar.’
    • ‘When Mia got over-excited and giddy she would get hiccups and John said it was testimony to her character that she had hiccups nearly every day.’
    • ‘Chewing the gum is certainly less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but nicotine can be irritating to the digestive tract, causing hiccups, heartburn and nausea.’
    fluctuation, flutter, waver, flicker, falter, quiver, tremor, tremble
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  • 2A temporary or minor problem or setback.

    ‘just a little hiccup in our usual wonderful service’
    • ‘They should carry out a simple risk analysis, looking at the big issues that can threaten a project as well as the minor hiccups that can occur.’
    • ‘The only hiccup is the sudden loss of batting form of vice-captain Ryan Watson.’
    • ‘This small hiccup in the otherwise smooth functioning of the hospital was quickly forgotten.’
    • ‘Overall it was a very successful day as everything went well with only a few minor hiccups and the weather was ideal.’
    • ‘There were the usual hiccups that come with any new business.’
    • ‘However, all sides are insisting this is a temporary hiccup that can be overcome.’
    • ‘Going by the UK's progress, there could be a few hiccups along the way.’
    • ‘And, similar to the video, the audio suffers from a few hiccups.’
    • ‘Despite the odd few hiccups the ban has been a huge success and I've no doubt that it will have a long-term impact on our country's health.’
    • ‘Despite a few hiccups along the way, the verdict from teachers and pupils is that it has been worth the wait!’
    • ‘Other than that hiccup against Pittsburgh, he has been on fire since his last three games of 2004.’
    • ‘Jake is back on his feet and is doing well apart from a couple of minor hiccups.’
    • ‘Despite that hiccup the fact remains that Denmark have a genuinely decent side.’
    • ‘The data collection for the main study itself went smoothly, with only very minor local hiccups.’
    • ‘The show was not without a few hiccups and it took a while for the sound technician to tweak the sound to the performer's satisfaction.’
    • ‘Of course, there could be hiccups along the way.’
    • ‘As it happens, the setback turned out to be the only hiccup in the 14 race series, and Andy made an astonishing recovery to claim 11 victories in his last 12 race meetings.’
    • ‘But despite impressive growth over the last ten years, it has experienced a few hiccups along the way and is currently going through a difficult period.’
    • ‘Despite a few minor hiccups the traffic flowed in and out of the site with ease.’
    • ‘And while they've had a hiccup or two along the way, the fact is that they remain firmly on course to lift the title.’
    difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, difficult situation, mess, muddle, mix-up
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[no object]
  • Have an attack of hiccups or a single hiccup.

    ‘they lay about hiccuping and giggling’
    • ‘I sat on the tarnished blue tiles of the bathroom floor, hiccuping, ‘I have to tell you something, Con,’ I murmured, my voice scratchy.’
    • ‘I hugged her and soothed her back as she began hiccuping and sobbing.’
    • ‘My face red and blotchy, I leaned back in the seat, hiccuping now from trying to slow down the tears.’
    • ‘Caitlin quietly obliged, hiccuping as she went.’
    • ‘The baby had clearly been crying, but was now calm, hiccuping around the chubby thumb he had placed in his mouth.’
    • ‘She hiccuped a bit and her voice sounded almost slurred.’
    • ‘I sobbed, uncontrollably, starting to shake and hiccup I was crying so much.’
    • ‘Gradually, Adriana started to calm down until she was hiccuping softly with her hands in her lap.’
    • ‘The story Ben tells me is that he walked me back, me hiccuping and gagging from time to time, until we got to his dorm.’
    • ‘He went to the couch and collapsed, hiccuping.’
    • ‘My eyes stung brutally and I started to hiccup.’
    • ‘Her dark eyes are wide with childish terror, and she hiccups so dramatically that, at first, she cannot speak at all.’
    • ‘She sobbed so hard that her chest hurt and she began to hiccup.’
    • ‘I stopped hiccuping and reached for the punch.’
    • ‘I breathed irregularly, occasionally hiccuping in my attempts to stop crying.’
    • ‘The guard, obviously drunk, stumbled over, hiccuping.’
    • ‘Mary began to hiccup, her efforts at trying to not cry getting the best of her.’
    • ‘I slowly calmed down until I was only hiccuping.’
    • ‘Soon, my tears were gone and I was just hiccuping and sniffling.’
    • ‘Later there was a telephone call, Marya hiccuping through tears and speaking in anxious half-Polish phrases.’


Late 16th century: imitative; the form hiccough arose by association with cough.