One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The action or an act of clearing or trying to clear phlegm from the throat by coughing or hawking, or of coughing slightly before speaking so as to speak more clearly, to attract attention, or to delay speaking when hesitant.
Of, relating to, or characterized by this.
Early 19th century; earliest use found in Laetitia-Matilda Hawkins (1759–1835), writer.
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