• synonyms


See more synonyms for famish on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with or without object) Archaic.
  1. to suffer or cause to suffer extreme hunger; starve.
  2. to starve to death.
Show More

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for famishing

eager, keen, greedy, ravenous, abstain, forbear, diet, refrain, starve, famish, avid, carnivorous, covetous, craving, empty, famished, hankering, hollow, omnivorous, rapacious

Examples from the Web for famishing

Historical Examples of famishing

  • A famishing man has never yet been hung for stealing to sustain life.


    Effie Afton

  • She was glad to eat heartily, for she was famishing with hunger.

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

    Thoughts on Missions

    Sheldon Dibble

  • One day the writer was accosted by a weaver who was in a famishing condition.

  • The famishing men feasted so ravenously that most of them became ill.

British Dictionary definitions for famishing


  1. (now usually passive) to be or make very hungry or weak
  2. archaic to die or cause to die from starvation
  3. Irish to make very coldI was famished with the cold
Show More
Derived Formsfamishment, noun

Word Origin for famish

C14: from Old French afamer, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin famēs famine
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

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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper