Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

cough up - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theycough up
he/she/itcoughs up
present participlecoughing up
past tensecoughed up
past participlecoughed up
  1. 1
    [transitive] same as cough

    He was coughing up blood.

  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] informal to give money to pay for something, especially when you would prefer not to

    Come on, cough up, it’s your turn to pay.

    cough up for:

    I had to cough up for the medical bills.

  3. 3
    [transitive] British informal to admit something, or to give information about something that you would prefer that other people did not know

    He was eventually forced to cough up details of the crime.

See also main entry: cough


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play