Definition of Hiccough

Hiccough: Hiccups happen when the diaphragm, the muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen, suddenly contracts. When that happens, air is taken in, and then the voice box closes shut, which is what causes the "hic" sound. There are different types of hiccups, named after how long they last:

A "regular" bout of hiccups can last up to 48 hours

"Persistent hiccups" last longer than 48 hours and up to a month

"Intractable hiccups" last longer than a month

In most cases, hiccups go away on their own with no lasting effects. But in some people, they can last a long time and lead to problems such as poor nutrition, tiredness, and reduced appetite.

Alternative terms for "hiccough" and "hiccups" include: "hickup" and "singultus".


Last Editorial Review: 10/30/2013

Search MedTerms:


Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!