A hiccup is a jerky, repeated contraction in your diaphragm — it's a sort of involuntary tic you can feel in your throat and chest. People who have hiccups usually make a "hic" sound.
Hiccups are a kind of spasm that can be brief or linger frustratingly. One man famously suffered from hiccups for 68 years — for that whole time, not a single folk remedy (doing a headstand, drinking water fast, being scared by someone, and so on) worked to relieve them. The word hiccup is imitative of the sound of hiccups. An Old English word for it was ælfsogoða, "elf heartburn," since hiccups were thought to be caused by elves.
Definitions of hiccup
(usually plural) the state of having reflex spasms of the diaphragm accompanied by a rapid closure of the glottis producing an audible sound; sometimes a symptom of indigestion
an unfortunate happening that hinders or impedes; something that is thwarting or frustrating
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘hiccup'.
Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Vocabulary.com or its editors.
Send us feedback