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1. To expel something through coughing. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cough" and "up" or after "up." While I was sick, I found myself constantly coughing up phlegm. The child was able to cough up the bit of food he was choking on, thank goodness.
2. To vomit. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cough" and "up" or after "up." When I had food poisoning, I felt like I coughed up everything I'd ever eaten in my life.
3. slang To divulge something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cough" and "up" or after "up." I'm sure he'll cough up the name of his accomplice once we send in our toughest investigator.
4. slang To give something to someone, often after a period of evasion. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cough" and "up" or after "up." Joey's thugs cornered me and made me cough up the money I owed them. There wasn't even that much pressure on him, and he totally coughed up the basketball!
5. slang To surrender the lead in a game or competition. A noun or pronoun can be used between "cough" and "up" or after "up." With their shaky defense, I wouldn't be surprised if they coughed up this 10-point lead.
cough something up
1. to get something out of the body by coughing. She coughed some matter up and took some more medicine. She coughed up phlegm all night.
2. Euph. to vomit something. The dog coughed the rabbit up. The dog coughed up the food it had eaten.
3. Sl. to produce or present something, such as an amount of money. You will cough the money up, won't you? You had better cough up what you owe me, if you know what's good for you.
1. Hand over or relinquish, especially money; pay up. For example, It's time the delinquent members coughed up their dues. [Slang; late 1800s]
2. Confess or divulge, as in Pretty soon she'd cough up the whole story about last night. This idiom transfers the act of vomiting to telling the entire truth. [Slang; late 1800s]
1. To force something from the throat or lungs and out of the mouth by coughing: After years of smoking, he started coughing up blood. The medicine loosened the phlegm so she could cough it up.
2. Slang To pay or hand over something, as money, often reluctantly: Cough up the money or you're going to jail. I know you're short on the rent money, but you'll have to cough it up.
3. Slang To confess or disclose something: When the police arrived, we coughed up the details of the incident. When the lawyers threatened me for not disclosing the tax returns, I coughed them up.