Ough oughBMJ 2002; 325 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7356.160 (Published 20 July 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:160
- Jeff Aronson, clinical pharmacologist.
Cough, pronounced coff, is onomatopoeic in origin, from the sound of the closure of the glottis plus the sound of air whizzing or wheezing through the trachea. Other languages have different ways of mimicking the sound of a cough. The Greek word was βηξ (bex), with its guttural stem βηχ- (bekh-). The Latin word was tussis, with its own form of onomatopoeia, giving modern words …