To cough up

to cough up meaning usage phrasal verb

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It’s been ages since I published anything on my blog – there were simply far too many things getting in the way. Now, after I moved back to Bristol, I am gradually finding my feet and the normal life has (almost) resumed. So I’ll try to keep the new posts coming.

On Friday I had a few errands to run and, most importantly, I needed to go to a post office to post some documents. One of the customers needed to send some documents to make sure they’d arrive the next day. This service is called ‘Next Day Delivery’, but, my god, it costs a lot! When the lady was told how much she would need to pay, she was rather shocked, but said ‘I would need to cough up anyway – it has to be there tomorrow’. I thought it would make a nice come-back phrase for my blog.

The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines ‘coughing up‘ as ‘producing money or information unwillingly’.

For more examples of usage see below:

– I’ve just had to cough up £40 for a parking fine (Cambridge Online Dictionary). So far I’ve had to cough up £40 for my parking mistakes!

– Add the $4.5 billion together with the $6.5 billion it has paid on claims from individuals and businesses that suffered and the $7.8 billion it agreed to cough up to settle further such claims and the bill, excluding clean-up costs, has hit some $19 billion so far (The Economist).

– Peruvians, for example, are relatively poor so cannot cough up as much as people in richer countries (The Economist).

– Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Millions of us prefer to deal with our bank on the phone, yet we are expected to cough up for a costly call when we do (BBC).

However, ‘to cough up‘ can be used in its direct meaning in a medical context, for example:

– Tuberculosis (TB) is spread by an airborne germ and leads to people coughing up blood (BBC).

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