Hiccup or belch?

From Mr Dan Barker

Sir: William Hartston (Health, 9 August) describes the traumas he has endured with a week of almost uninterrupted hiccups, but the caption to the accompanying photograph describes him as "the eructating author".

The Concise Oxford English Dictionary defines eructation as "the act or an instance of belching", an event very different from - indeed almost diametrically opposed to - a hiccup. I do hope that Mr Hartston did not suffer from this complaint as well, since his life would have been a double misery with incessant two-way traffic.

Yours faithfully,

Dan Barker

Oxford

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