- A hiccup is an extraordinary type of respiratory movement involving a sudden inspiration (intake of air) due to an involuntary contraction of the diaphragm accompanied by closure of the glottis (the vocal apparatus of the larynx). 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. Alternative forms of "hiccups" include "hiccough" and "hickup."
* * *hic·cup also hic·cough 'hik-(.)əp n1) a spasmodic inhalation with closure of the glottis accompanied by a peculiar sound2) an attack of hiccuping usu. used in pl. but sing. or pl. in constr. <severe \hiccups is sometimes seen after operation (Lancet)> <intractable \hiccup...may be successfully treated (Jour. Amer. Med. Assoc.)>hiccup also hiccough vi, hic·cuped also hic·cupped or hic·coughed; hic·cup·ing also hic·cup·ping or hic·cough·ing to make a hiccup also to be affected with hiccupshic·cup·er also hic·cough·er n
* * *n.abrupt involuntary lowering of the diaphragm and closure of the sound-producing folds at the upper end of the trachea, producing a characteristic sound as the breath is drawn in. Hiccups, which usually occur repeatedly, may be caused by indigestion or more serious disorders, such as alcoholism. Medical name: singultus.
* * *hic·cup (hikґəp) an involuntary spasmodic contraction of the diaphragm, causing a beginning inhalation that is suddenly checked by closure of the glottis, causing a characteristic sound; called also hiccough and singultus.
Medical dictionary. 2011.