Definition of “cough” - English Dictionary

“cough” in British English

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coughverb [ I ]

uk /kɒf/ us /kɑːf/

B1 to force air out of your lungs through your throat with a short, loud sound:

The smoke made me cough.
I coughed all night long.

to make a sound like a cough:

The car engine coughed a few times, but wouldn't start.

More examples

  • She took too big a gulp of whisky and started to cough and splutter.
  • He coughed loudly to warn them he was coming.
  • She is coughing terribly.
  • Some idiot coughed all the way through the concert.
  • The smoke made me cough.

Phrasal verb(s)

coughnoun [ C ]

uk /kɒf/ us /kɑːf/

B1 the act of coughing, or the sound this makes:

a dry cough (= one that does not produce mucus)
a hacking (= very bad and loud) cough

an illness that makes you cough a lot:

a smoker's cough
Emily has a very bad/nasty cough.

More examples

  • You should see a doctor about that cough.
  • I'm sorry - is my cough annoying you?
  • Symptoms of the illness include a high temperature and a persistent dry cough.
  • Have you seen a quack about that cough?
  • The cough, wheeze and shortness of breath are things that go with smoking, not with age.

(Definition of “cough” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“cough” in American English

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coughverb [ I ]

us /kɔf/

to force air out of your lungs through your throat with a short, loud sound, often unwillingly:

The smoke from the bonfire made me cough.
fig. The car engine coughed a few times, but wouldn’t start.

coughnoun [ C ]

us /kɔf/

an act of forcing air out of your lungs through your throat with a short, loud sound, often unwillingly:

a dry cough
There are lots of coughs and colds going around this winter.

(Definition of “cough” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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