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  1. a longing; craving.
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Origin of hankering

First recorded in 1655–65; hanker + -ing1
Related formshan·ker·ing·ly, adverb


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verb (used without object)
  1. to have a restless or incessant longing (often followed by after, for, or an infinitive).
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Origin of hanker

1595–1605; < early Dutch dialect hankeren (cognate with Dutch hunkeren), frequentative of hangen to hang
Related formshan·ker·er, noun


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

Related Words

yearning, craving, pining, longing, urge, itch, hunger, wish, yen, thirst, want, weakness, ache, druthers, munchies

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British Dictionary definitions for hankering


  1. (foll by for, after, or an infinitive) to have a yearning (for something or to do something)
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Derived Formshankering, 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

Word Origin and History for hankering


"mental craving," 1660s, see hanker.

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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper