- a quick, involuntary inhalation that follows a spasm of the diaphragm and is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, producing a short, relatively sharp sound.
- Usually hiccups. the condition of having such spasms: She got the hiccups just as she began to speak.
- Informal. a minor difficulty, interruption, setback, etc.: a hiccup in the stock market.
verb (used without object), hic·cuped or hic·cupped, hic·cup·ing or hic·cup·ping.
- to make the sound of a hiccup: The motor hiccuped as it started.
- to have the hiccups.
- Informal. to experience a temporary decline, setback, interruption, etc.: There was general alarm when the economy hiccuped.
- a spasm of the diaphragm producing a sudden breathing in followed by a closing of the glottis, resulting in a sharp soundTechnical name: singultus
- the state or condition of having such spasms
- informal a minor difficulty or problem
verb -cups, -cuping, -cuped, -cups, -cupping, -cupped, -coughs, -coughing or -coughed
- (intr) to make a hiccup or hiccups
- (tr) to utter with a hiccup or hiccups
1570s, hickop, earlier hicket, hyckock, “a word meant to imitate the sound produced by the convulsion of the diaphragm” [Abram Smythe Farmer, “Folk-Etymology,” London, 1882]. Cf. French hoquet, Danish hikke, etc. Modern spelling first recorded 1788; An Old English word for it was ælfsogoða, so called because hiccups were thought to be caused by elves.
1580s; see hiccup (n.).
- A spasm of the diaphragm causing sudden inhalation interrupted by spasmodic closure of the glottis, producing a characteristic noise.