a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat caused by need of liquid.
the physical condition resulting from this need, in any of various degrees: They almost died of thirst.
strong or eager desire; craving: a thirst for knowledge.

verb (used without object)

to feel thirst; be thirsty.
to have a strong desire.

Origin of thirst

before 900; Middle English thirsten (v.), Old English thyrstan, derivative of thurst (noun); cognate with Dutch dorst, German Durst, Old Norse thorsti, Gothic thaurstei; noun has -i- from the v. or from thirsty; see toast1
Related formsthirst·er, nounun·thirst·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for thirsting

Contemporary Examples of thirsting

  • Still Obama allied America with those Arabs and Iranians thirsting for freedom, and he did so in a subtle but remarkable way.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Putting America on Democracy's Side

    Peter Beinart

    May 19, 2011

Historical Examples of thirsting

  • I know you will, when I tell you that I have been hungering and thirsting all day for the sound of your voice.

  • She was thirsting for help, for help that she could understand.

    Audrey Craven

    May Sinclair

  • What could the unfortunate exiles, thirsting for peace and rest, do but accept these conditions?

    Les Parsis

    D. Menant

  • A thirsting for sweet wells of which one has heard in a dream.


    Stephen French Whitman

  • All this was very trying to the newly-married man, who was thirsting for sympathy.

    A Window in Thrums

    J. M. Barrie

British Dictionary definitions for thirsting



a craving to drink, accompanied by a feeling of dryness in the mouth and throat
an eager longing, craving, or yearninga thirst for knowledge


(intr) to feel a thirstto thirst for a drink; to thirst after righteousness

Word Origin for thirst

Old English thyrstan, from thurst thirst; related to Old Norse thyrsta to thirst, Old High German dursten to thirst, Latin torrēre to parch
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 thirsting



Old English þurst, from West Germanic *thurstus (cf. Old Saxon thurst, Frisian torst, Dutch dorst, Old High German and German durst), from Proto-Germanic *thurs-, from PIE root *ters- "dry" (see terrain). Figurative sense of "vehement desire" is attested from c.1200.



Old English þyrstan (see thirst (n.)); the figurative sense of the verb was present in Old English. Related: Thirsted; thirsting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

thirsting in Medicine




A sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat related to a need or desire to drink.
The desire or need to drink.


To feel a need to drink.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.