- extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area.
- any extreme and general scarcity.
- extreme hunger; starvation.
Origin of famine
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for famine
She recalls that during the famine her father illegally sold gold and silver.How ‘Titanic ’Helped This Brave Young Woman Escape North Korea’s Totalitarian State
October 31, 2014
“These people were coming here from tragic situations of war and famine in search of a better life,” he told The Daily Beast.Italy: Migrants Dying en Masse
Barbie Latza Nadeau
July 7, 2014
Famine and frigid temperatures ensued, and roughly 10 percent of the population died.When the Weather Went All Medieval: Climate Change, Famine, and Mass Death
June 11, 2014
At other times, North Korea might want aid economic and food concessions, especially during periods of hardship and famine.Is North Korea Collecting American Hostages?
June 7, 2014
Famine will stalk the land and as many as seven million people will confront extreme food insecurity—in short, starvation.Preventing Genocide In South Sudan
Eric Reeves, John Prendergast
April 29, 2014
That morning a rumor had reached the village of a famine in the island of Crete.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
That was in case of an enemy or a famine when the people might be tempted to eat it.The Trail Book
I could have pronounced him, alone, to be a young man aged by famine and sickness.The Uncommercial Traveller
This is the usual result of feast after famine, and was to be expected.The Long Labrador Trail
In the worst pinches of the famine he stole back to the fires of the gods.White Fang
- a severe shortage of food, as through crop failure or overpopulation
- acute shortage of anything
- violent hunger
Word Origin and History for famine
mid-14c., from Old French famine "hunger" (12c.), from Vulgar Latin *famina, from Latin fames "hunger, starvation, famine," of unknown origin.
Idioms and Phrases with famine
see feast or famine.