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adjective, hun·gri·er, hun·gri·est.
  1. having a desire, craving, or need for food; feeling hunger.
  2. indicating, characteristic of, or characterized by hunger: He approached the table with a hungry look.
  3. strongly or eagerly desirous.
  4. lacking needful or desirable elements; not fertile; poor: hungry land.
  5. marked by a scarcity of food: The depression years were hungry times.
  6. Informal. aggressively ambitious or competitive, as from a need to overcome poverty or past defeats: a hungry investment firm looking for wealthy clients.

Origin of hungry

before 950; Middle English, Old English hungrig. See hunger, -y1
Related formshun·gri·ly, adverbhun·gri·ness, noun
Can be confusedHungary hungry (see synonym study at the current entry)

Synonyms for hungry

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1. ravenous, famishing, starving. Hungry, famished, starved describe a condition resulting from a lack of food. Hungry is a general word, expressing various degrees of eagerness or craving for food: hungry between meals; desperately hungry after a long fast; hungry as a bear. Famished denotes the condition of one reduced to actual suffering from want of food, but sometimes is used lightly or in an exaggerated statement: famished after being lost in a wilderness; simply famished ( hungry ). Starved denotes a condition resulting from long-continued lack or insufficiency of food, and implies enfeeblement, emaciation, or death (originally death from any cause, but now death from lack of food): He looks thin and starved. By the end of the terrible winter, thousands had starved ( to death ). It is also used as a humorous exaggeration: I only had two sandwiches, pie, and some milk, so I'm simply starved ( hungry ).

Antonyms for hungry

1. sated, satiated, surfeited. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for hungry

Contemporary Examples of hungry

Historical Examples of hungry

  • Yes—I'm hungry for both, and some of those funny little cakes.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The History of Man is the record of a hungry creature in search of food.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Rested at Pintumbra, as there was good feed for our tired and hungry horses.

  • I want to eat when I am hungry, sleep when I am weary, drink—well, any old time.

    Ballads of a Bohemian

    Robert W. Service

  • This from Jerry Tompkins; you have probably no idea how hungry he was at that moment.

British Dictionary definitions for hungry


adjective -grier or -griest
  1. desiring food
  2. experiencing pain, weakness, or nausea through lack of food
  3. (postpositive foll by for) having a craving, desire, or need (for)
  4. expressing or appearing to express greed, craving, or desire
  5. lacking fertility; poor
  6. Australian and NZ informal
    1. greedy; grasping
    2. stingy; mean
  7. NZ (of timber) dry and bare
Derived Formshungrily or hungeringly, adverbhungriness, noun
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 hungry

Old English hungrig "hungry, famished;" see hunger + -y (2). Cf. Old Frisian hungerig, Dutch hongerig, German hungrig. Figurative use from c.1200. Related: Hungrily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper