View synonyms for hunger


[ huhng-ger ]


  1. a compelling need or desire for food.
  2. the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food:

    to collapse from hunger.

  3. a shortage of food; famine.
  4. a strong or compelling desire or craving:

    hunger for power.

    Synonyms: itch, lust, greed, appetite

verb (used without object)

  1. to feel hunger; be hungry.
  2. to have a strong desire.

verb (used with object)

  1. Rare. to subject to hunger; starve.


/ ˈhʌŋɡə /


  1. a feeling of pain, emptiness, or weakness induced by lack of food
  2. an appetite, desire, need, or craving

    hunger for a woman


  1. to have or cause to have a need or craving for food
  2. intr; usually foll by for or after to have a great appetite or desire (for)

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Other Words From

  • hunger·ing·ly adverb
  • half-hungered adjective
  • pre·hunger noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of hunger1

before 900; Middle English; Old English hungor; cognate with German Hunger

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Word History and Origins

Origin of hunger1

Old English hungor; related to Old High German hungar, Old Norse hungr, Gothic hūhrus

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. from hunger, Slang. deplorably bad; dreadful: Also strictly from hunger.

    The styles in coats this winter are from hunger.

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Example Sentences

Understanding how the hunger for social contact is produced in the brain might allow a deeper understanding of the role social isolation plays in some illnesses.

Europe has also seen a new level of social activism among soccer stars, with English national team players Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling making tangible gains on issues from childhood hunger to racial equality.

From Quartz

They help us respond to hunger pangs and then tell us when we’ve eaten enough.

In addition to facing high rates of homelessness and hunger, food insecurity in the trans community is also a problem.

From Eater

If we were able to fix that, so that women were no longer second-class citizens, I think it would impact every other problem that we have — hunger and the environment and war.

I wish this was the last time I had to worry about hunger and bombs.

World peace, religious tolerance, and an end to global poverty, hunger, and disease.

His hunger strike in December 2011 received nation-wide recognition and was one of the sparks that ignited the protest movement.

While in pre-trial detention, Krivov undertook two hunger strikes.

Now Jena Malone is 30, and with roles in Inherent Vice, The Hunger Games, and a massive superhero film, all the rage.

It was he who first said, If thine enemy hunger give him food, if he thirst give him drink.

Or, if I escaped these dangers for a day or two, what could I expect but a miserable death of cold and hunger?

Jacob robbed his brother of his birthright by trading on his hunger; Joseph robbed a whole people in the same way.

Hunger had to be satisfied, however, and I had to swallow my pride and my five-pennyworth.

To obtain the necessaries of life they endure cold and hunger in an extraordinary manner.


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Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.