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[stahrv-ling] /ˈstɑrv lɪŋ/
a person, animal, or plant that is starving.
starving; suffering from lack of nourishment.
pining with want.
poor in condition or quality.
such as to entail or suggest starvation.
Origin of starveling
First recorded in 1540-50; starve + -ling1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for starveling
Historical Examples
  • It must have been that evil-looking traveller, that starveling.

    The King's Esquires George Manville Fenn
  • You never could get a starveling like Scott Brenton out of sight of your conscience.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
  • Hunger returned; and the starveling reappeared in his wall-top refectory.

    The Mason-bees J. Henri Fabre
  • That would be too much for a starveling like you; would you not like other meat?

  • Now near to him there was a post, and on this post was the dragon's starveling daughter.

    The Fairy Ring Various
  • This starveling mountebank was old, impudent, and repulsively cheery.

    The Death of the Gods Dmitri Mrejkowski
  • It was as a starveling that he got his first knowledge of Argentina.

    The Amazing Argentine John Foster Fraser
  • Bring in a sapling of the native tree and it looks a starveling by comparison.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Here a child begins life a starveling, and ends as he began.

    The Woman-Hater Charles Reade
  • She was indeed a starveling and appeared to me to be a woman of about thirty.

    What Shall We Do? Leo Tolstoy
British Dictionary definitions for starveling


  1. a starving or poorly fed person, animal, etc
  2. (as modifier): a starveling child
insufficient; meagre; scant
Word Origin
C16: from starve + -ling1
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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