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90s Slang You Should Know


[fam-ish] /ˈfæm ɪʃ/
verb (used with or without object), Archaic.
to suffer or cause to suffer extreme hunger; starve.
to starve to death.
Origin of famish
1350-1400; Middle English famisshe, equivalent to famen to starve (< Anglo-French, Middle French afamer < Vulgar Latin *affamāre, equivalent to Latin af- af- + famāre, derivative of famēs hunger) + -isshe -ish2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for famishing
Historical Examples
  • I sit here babbling like a garrulous old woman while you must be famishing.

  • Millions upon millions are famishing for the bread and water of life.

    Thoughts on Missions Sheldon Dibble
  • A famishing traveller who had run down a salamander, made a fire, and laid him alive upon the hot coals to cook.

    Cobwebs From an Empty Skull Ambrose Bierce (AKA: Dod Grile)
  • A famishing man has never yet been hung for stealing to sustain life.

    Eventide Effie Afton
  • They beheld the beauty of my daughter, and they looked on her with famishing eyes.

    Charlemont W. Gilmore Simms
  • famishing lions and tigers will not approach the camp-fire to seize their prey.

    Flowers of Freethought George W. Foote
  • These were fed to the famishing dog, then closing the door he hurried back to Patchogue, where he phoned Dreamy Hollow.

    Dreamy Hollow Sumner Charles Britton
  • On reaching the river at the point where we were camped, they were famishing with hunger.

    The Awakening of the Desert Julius C. Birge
  • Beneath the chill December sky these famishing spectres had to take refuge in the open ditch below the ramparts of the town.

    The Story of Rouen Sir Theodore Andrea Cook
  • The Doctor's servant, Kilian, who is famishing, asks for food.

British Dictionary definitions for famishing


(now usually passive) to be or make very hungry or weak
(archaic) to die or cause to die from starvation
(Irish) to make very cold: I was famished with the cold
Derived Forms
famishment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French afamer, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin famēsfamine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for famishing



c.1400, famyschen, alteration of famen (late 14c.), a shortening of Old French afamer, from Vulgar Latin *affamare "to bring to hunger," from ad famem, from Latin fames "hunger" (see famine).

Ending changed mid-14c. to -ish under influence of ravish, anguish, etc. The intransitive sense is from 1520s. Related: Famished; famishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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