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 sound like that of a cough.

    • ‘He let loose the loudest hiccup I'd ever heard and took another swig of something or other from his canteen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was difficult to breathe inbetween his spasms of hiccups and tears.’
    • ‘I gulped it down gladly, and the hiccups slowed to a stop.’
    • ‘Slowly my sobs subsided and all that was left was my hiccups which sounded off every once and a while.’
    • ‘For example, there are over 100 different cures for hiccups, in both the medical and lay literature.’
    • ‘He treated a patient in the emergency room who suffered from hiccups every two seconds for three days.’
    • ‘She let out a watery little hiccough that sounded quite a bit like a sob.’
    • ‘Chewing the gum is certainly less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but nicotine can be irritating to the digestive tract, causing hiccups, heartburn and nausea.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The glottis suddenly closes and stops the inflow of air resulting in the sound of a hiccup.’
    • ‘Maria tried to hold her tears in, but they escaped through strangled hiccups, and small shudders.’
    • ‘Everyday hiccups don't need medical treatment, as they will go away on their own.’
    • ‘Persistent hiccups (lasting for more than 48 hours) is rare, but may be caused by an underlying disease.’
    • ‘I had a normal pregnancy with no complications except that I got the hiccups a lot.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    fluctuation, flutter, waver, flicker, falter, quiver, tremor, tremble
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    1. 1.1hiccups An attack of hiccups occurring repeatedly for some time.
      ‘he got the hiccups’
    2. 1.2 A temporary or minor difficulty or setback.
      ‘just a little hiccup in our usual wonderful service’
      • ‘However, all sides are insisting this is a temporary hiccup that can be overcome.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There were the usual hiccups that come with any new business.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jake is back on his feet and is doing well apart from a couple of minor hiccups.’
      • ‘And, similar to the video, the audio suffers from a few hiccups.’
      • ‘The only hiccup is the sudden loss of batting form of vice-captain Ryan Watson.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The data collection for the main study itself went smoothly, with only very minor local hiccups.’
      • ‘Other than that hiccup against Pittsburgh, he has been on fire since his last three games of 2004.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Going by the UK's progress, there could be a few hiccups along the way.’
      • ‘Despite a few hiccups along the way, the verdict from teachers and pupils is that it has been worth the wait!’
      • ‘Despite a few minor hiccups the traffic flowed in and out of the site with ease.’
      • ‘Of course, there could be hiccups along the way.’
      • ‘This small hiccup in the otherwise smooth functioning of the hospital was quickly forgotten.’
      • ‘Despite that hiccup the fact remains that Denmark have a genuinely decent side.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Overall it was a very successful day as everything went well with only a few minor hiccups and the weather was ideal.’
      difficulty, issue, trouble, worry, complication, difficult situation, mess, muddle, mix-up
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  • Suffer from or make the sound of a hiccup or series of hiccups.

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


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