[ stahr-vey-shuh n ]
/ stɑrˈveɪ ʃən /


the act or state of starving; condition of being starved.


liable or seeming to cause starving: a starvation diet.

Nearby words

  1. startle reflex,
  2. startling,
  3. startlingly,
  4. startsy,
  5. startup,
  6. starvation wages,
  7. starve,
  8. starveling,
  9. starving,
  10. starwort

Origin of starvation

First recorded in 1770–80; starve + -ation Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for starvation

British Dictionary definitions for starvation


/ (stɑːˈveɪʃən) /


  1. the act or an instance of starving or state of being starved
  2. (as modifier)a starvation diet; starvation wages
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 starvation



1778, noun of action from starve. Famously introduced in English by Henry Dundas during debate in the House of Commons in 1775 on American affairs. It earned him the nickname "Starvation Dundas," though sources disagree on whether this was given in objection to the harshness of his suggestion of starving the rebels into submission or in derision at the barbarous formation of the word. It is one of the earliest instances of -ation used with a native Germanic word.

As to Lord Chatham, the victories, conquests, extension of our empire within these last five years, will annihilate his fame of course, and he may be replaced by Starvation Dundas, whose pious policy suggested that the devil of rebellion could be expelled only by fasting, though that never drove him out of Scotland. [Horace Walpole, letter to the Rev. William Mason, April 25, 1781]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for starvation


[ stär-vāshən ]


The act or process of starving.
The condition of being starved.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.