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[thurst] /θɜrst/
a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by need of liquid.
the physical condition resulting from this need, in any of various degrees:
They almost died of thirst.
strong or eager desire; craving:
a thirst for knowledge.
verb (used without object)
to feel thirst; be thirsty.
to have a strong desire.
Origin of thirst
before 900; Middle English thirsten (v.), Old English thyrstan, derivative of thurst (noun); cognate with Dutch dorst, German Durst, Old Norse thorsti, Gothic thaurstei; noun has -i- from the v. or from thirsty; see toast1
Related forms
thirster, noun
unthirsting, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for thirst
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Thomas has talked so feelingly about thirst that I want to provide against it.

    The Great Sioux Trail Joseph Altsheler
  • I am perishing of thirst, and this scorching sun is adding to my torments.

    A Middy of the King Harry Collingwood
  • Suppose it to have only one perception, as of thirst or hunger.

  • No sooner had he done so than hunger and thirst passed away.

    The Science of Fairy Tales Edwin Sidney Hartland
  • They fought death in a land of thirst northward, ever northward.

    Dust of the Desert Robert Welles Ritchie
British Dictionary definitions for thirst


a craving to drink, accompanied by a feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat
an eager longing, craving, or yearning: a thirst for knowledge
(intransitive) to feel a thirst: to thirst for a drink, to thirst after righteousness
Word Origin
Old English thyrstan, from thurst thirst; related to Old Norse thyrsta to thirst, Old High German dursten to thirst, Latin torrēre to parch
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 thirst

Old English þurst, from West Germanic *thurstus (cf. Old Saxon thurst, Frisian torst, Dutch dorst, Old High German and German durst), from Proto-Germanic *thurs-, from PIE root *ters- "dry" (see terrain). Figurative sense of "vehement desire" is attested from c.1200.


Old English þyrstan (see thirst (n.)); the figurative sense of the verb was present in Old English. Related: Thirsted; thirsting.


Old English þyrstan (see thirst (n.)); the figurative sense of the verb was present in Old English. Related: Thirsted; thirsting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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thirst in Medicine

thirst (thûrst)

  1. A sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat related to a need or desire to drink.

  2. The desire or need to drink.

v. thirst·ed, thirst·ing, thirsts
To feel a need to drink.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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