I had 12 years of public school, 4 years of college (honors), 4 years of medical school and 3 years of post graduate training. Now I have practiced medicine for 35 years.

Last week, someone told me I was misspelling "hiccough".

I researched it in Merriam-Webster's dictionary and it implies that the noun (the actual sound) is spelled "hiccough" but the intransitive verb (the action) is spelled "hiccup".

Is this correct? Why wasn't I taught this before?

Doc Green

  • 2
    Welcome! Can you post a copy of the passage you looked at in Merriam-Webster? I checked their online definition of "hiccup" and I did not find any implication that the spellings are differentiated based on part of speech. It lists the variant spelling "hiccough" for both the noun (definition 1) and the verb (definition 2).
    – herisson
    Jul 17, 2016 at 19:09
  • 2
    For more information about how this word is spelled, please see the following question: Are there regional distinctions in how hiccup/hiccough is spelled?
    – herisson
    Jul 17, 2016 at 19:11
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    I typed hiccough into the Oxford English Dictionary and hiccup came up. See english.stackexchange.com/questions/91910/… as sumelic said -- answer there by tylerharms agrees with OED.
    – ab2
    Jul 17, 2016 at 20:07
  • 1
    I'm surprised you didn't get a second opinion. Jul 17, 2016 at 21:05
  • 2
    It's like "catsup" and "ketchup" -- there are two proper spellings with the newer and once slang "ketchup" spelling now overtaking the older more traditional "catsup." Actually, it's more like "bologna" and "baloney" because while there are two spellings for the actual thing, there's only one spelling for the figurative thing. If something is false, then it's only "baloney," not "bologna." Likewise, if you run into a snag, it's a "hiccup," not a "hiccough."
    – user184292
    Jul 17, 2016 at 23:15


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