Chronic cough is a common and disabling symptom. Recent guidelines have attempted to provide direction in the clinical management of cough in both primary and secondary care. They have also provided a critical review of the available literature and identified gaps in current knowledge. Despite this they have been criticized for a reliance on a low quality evidence base. In this review, we summarize the current consensus on the clinical management of chronic cough and attempt to rationalize this based on recent evidence. We have also provided an overview of the likely pathophysiological mechanisms responsible for cough and highlighted areas, where knowledge deficits exist and suggest directions for future research. Such progress will be critical in the search for new and effective treatments for cough.