go down the wrong way

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go down the wrong way (third-person singular simple present goes down the wrong way, present participle going down the wrong way, simple past went down the wrong way, past participle gone down the wrong way)

  1. (idiomatic, of food or drink) To go down the trachea (windpipe) in one's throat instead of the esophagus (the tube in the throat for swallowed food and fluids), typically resulting in coughing or choking.
    She took a big drink of milk and it went down the wrong way. She was coughing for the next two minutes.