- A rarely used medical word for an ordinary hiccup. A hiccough is an extraordinary type of breathing movement involving a sudden intake of air (inspiration) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the vocal apparatus (glottis) of the larynx. A hiccough is also called a hiccup. The abrupt inspiration is the result of a sudden contraction of the diaphragm. Closure of the glottis then halts the incoming air. The column of air strikes the closed glottis to produce the characteristic sound: a hiccup. Hiccups are often rhythmic. They are usually just a minor nuisance, but prolonged hiccups can become a major medical problem. The word "hiccup" was in use by 1530. It is an instance of onomatopoeia, the imitation of natural sounds by words.
* * *SYN: hiccup. [L.]
* * *
* * *n.
* * *sin·gul·tus (sing-gulґtəs) [L.] hiccup.
Medical dictionary. 2011.