[ stahrv ]
See synonyms for: starvestarvedstarving on

verb (used without object),starved, starv·ing.
  1. to die or perish from lack of food or nourishment.

  2. to be in the process of perishing or suffering severely from hunger.

  1. to suffer from extreme poverty and need.

  2. to feel a strong need or desire: The child was starving for affection.

  3. Chiefly British Dialect. to perish or suffer extremely from cold.

  4. Obsolete. to die.

verb (used with object),starved, starv·ing.
  1. to cause to starve; kill, weaken, or reduce by lack of food.

  2. to subdue, or force to some condition or action, by hunger: to starve a besieged garrison into a surrender.

  1. to cause to suffer for lack of something needed or craved.

  2. Chiefly British Dialect. to cause to perish, or to suffer extremely, from cold.

Origin of starve

First recorded before 1000; Middle English sterven, Old English steorfan “to die”; cognate with German sterben

synonym study For starve

See hungry.

Other words from starve

  • half-starved, adjective
  • half-starving, adjective
  • self-starved, adjective
  • un·starved, adjective

Words Nearby starve Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use starve in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for starve


/ (stɑːv) /

  1. to die or cause to die from lack of food

  2. to deprive (a person or animal) or (of a person, etc) to be deprived of food

  1. (intr) informal to be very hungry

  2. (foll by of or for) to deprive or be deprived (of something necessary), esp so as to cause suffering or malfunctioning: the engine was starved of fuel

  3. (tr foll by into) to bring (to) a specified condition by starving: to starve someone into submission

  4. archaic to be or cause to be extremely cold

Origin of starve

Old English steorfan to die; related to Old Frisian sterva to die, Old High German sterban to die

Derived forms of starve

  • starver, 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