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[hang-ker-ing] /ˈhæŋ kər ɪŋ/
a longing; craving.
Origin of hankering
First recorded in 1655-65; hanker + -ing1
Related forms
hankeringly, adverb
desire, need, yearning, hunger, yen, thirst.


[hang-ker] /ˈhæŋ kər/
verb (used without object)
to have a restless or incessant longing (often followed by after, for, or an infinitive).
1595-1605; < early Dutch dialect hankeren (cognate with Dutch hunkeren), frequentative of hangen to hang
Related forms
hankerer, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hankering
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Also that hankering after an overt or practical effect seems to me an apostasy.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • But there was one yet—the biggest, the most blank, so to speak—that I had a hankering after.

    Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
  • Think I'm hankering about being smashed flatter'n a pancake, do you?

  • I liked it much better than that of my father, but still had a hankering for the sea.

  • There's the widow Babbage, down to Dock: she always had a hankering for you.

    The Adventures of Harry Revel

    Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch
  • For all that, a hankering after Beaurepaire was observable in her.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • He had yielded to their abjurations; but his hankering for acres had remained.

British Dictionary definitions for hankering


foll by for, after, or an infinitive. to have a yearning (for something or to do something)
Derived Forms
hankering, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch dialect hankeren
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 hankering

"mental craving," 1660s, see hanker.



c.1600, of unknown origin, probably from Flemish hankeren, related to Dutch hunkeren "to hanker," of unknown origin; perhaps an intensive of Middle Dutch hangen "to hang" (see hang (v.)). If so, the notion is of "lingering about" with longing or craving. Related: Hankered; hankering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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