verb (used without object)

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

verb (used with object)

Rare. to subject to hunger; starve.


    from hunger, Slang. deplorably bad; dreadful: The styles in coats this winter are from hunger.Also strictly from hunger.

Origin of hunger

before 900; Middle English; Old English hungor; cognate with German Hunger
Related formshun·ger·ing·ly, adverbhalf-hun·gered, adjectivepre·hun·ger, noun

Synonyms for hunger Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hunger

Contemporary Examples of hunger

Historical Examples of hunger

British Dictionary definitions for hunger



a feeling of pain, emptiness, or weakness induced by lack of food
an appetite, desire, need, or cravinghunger for a woman


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

Word Origin for hunger

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

Old English hungor "unease or pain caused by lack of food, craving appetite, debility from lack of food," from Proto-Germanic *hungruz (cf. Old Frisian hunger, Old Saxon hungar, Old High German hungar, Old Norse hungr, German hunger, Dutch honger, Gothic huhrus), probably from PIE root *kenk- (2) "to suffer hunger or thirst." Hunger strike attested from 1885; earliest references are to prisoners in Russia.


Old English hyngran (cf. Old Saxon gihungrjan, Old High German hungaran, German hungern, Gothic huggrjan), from the source of hunger (n.). Related: Hungered; hungering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

hunger in Medicine




A strong desire or need for food.
The discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food.
A strong desire or craving, as for affection.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.