Definition of hunger in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat.

    ‘she was faint with hunger’
    • ‘In these cases, a patient usually does not feel pain, hunger, or thirst.’
    • ‘Common symptoms of this are weakness, shaking, hunger and sweating.’
    • ‘Such foods seem naturally to control hunger and appetite.’
    • ‘He was in constant agony, a pain brought on by hunger and lack of energy.’
    • ‘John was almost faint from hunger, his feet throbbed and his legs burned, and he was exhausted.’
    • ‘Mothers quickly learn to distinguish a cry of hunger from one of discomfort or frustration and respond appropriately.’
    • ‘Hearty and filling, I came away from this part of the meal with my meat cravings satisfied, and my hunger stopped dead in its tracks.’
    • ‘Jane awakens again later in the afternoon, faint with hunger and still numb from emotion.’
    • ‘It alters the circuitry in the brain that regulates hunger and cravings for alcohol and nicotine.’
    • ‘I was constantly confronted with my own weaknesses, my hunger, my low tolerance for pain.’
    • ‘If I had meat and vegetables and nothing else, it was easier to control, but if I had potatoes and desert, the hunger got stronger.’
    • ‘Unlike hunger or temptation, cravings are typically a draw toward specific foods that are, in excess, bad for you.’
    • ‘Patients with dementia go walking for many reasons, including discomfort, hunger or pain.’
    • ‘It all helped to keep energy levels up, and made everyone forget the pangs of hunger and thirst, for well over three hours.’
    • ‘So here we were, feeling faint with hunger, stomachs rumbling and no grub ready - and getting stiffer by the minute after our trek.’
    • ‘His head was throbbing and he was faint from hunger.’
    • ‘Food stimulation also resulted in increases in self-reports of hunger and desire for food.’
    • ‘The hunger and cravings are now non-existent, though I do begin to go a bit crazy.’
    • ‘They used questionnaires to assess hunger and the desire for different food types.’
    • ‘Early signs and symptoms include sweating, shakiness, weakness, hunger, dizziness and nausea.’
    lack of food, need for food, hungriness, ravenousness, emptiness
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    1. 1.1A severe lack of food.
      ‘they died from cold and hunger’
      • ‘He announced yesterday that almost 100 tonnes of food would have to be sourced to avert the threat of hunger in the affected areas.’
      • ‘Death, from hunger, cold, and reduced resistance to illnesses, none of which could be treated, was commonplace in Leningrad.’
      • ‘As it is, way too many people are dying of hunger, dying of poverty, dying of disease, dying of bombs - all of which are preventable.’
      • ‘Many thousands, possibly millions would die of cold and hunger.’
      • ‘Agricultural officials in West Africa say that if the current locust swarms worsen, up to one million people could face hunger.’
      • ‘What is required in the immediate is to save the lives of as many people as possible from hunger, thirst and epidemics.’
      • ‘More than 3,000 Mongolian gazelles have died of hunger and cold weather since blizzards hit the region this winter.’
      • ‘Combined with the spectres of disease and hunger, the cold is expected to claim the lives of many who survived the initial earthquake.’
      • ‘It is feared around 10,000 of them could perish from hunger, cold and disease in the next two weeks unless help arrives.’
      • ‘Nearly half of this country's children are suffering from such severe hunger that their physical and mental development is being seriously retarded.’
      • ‘Each day 50,000 people die of hunger and preventable illnesses.’
      • ‘One result of this was occasional and localized food shortages so severe as to occasion hunger, starvation, and death.’
      • ‘In three weeks, 60,000 men were lost through cold, hunger and relentless attacks.’
      • ‘We have enough resources in the country to look after our people in times of hunger and in times when they have plenty.’
      • ‘If orphaned cubs don't die of cold or hunger, they may be sold as pets or circus animals by hunters or poachers.’
      • ‘Up to 3 million people are suffering from severe hunger while another 3 million have not got enough to eat.’
      • ‘Often they marched with bare feet, their stomachs aching with hunger.’
      • ‘These camps face severe problems of hunger, disease as well as security.’
      • ‘In 1984, there were reports of surplus in the south while one million people died of hunger in the northeastern regions of the country.’
      • ‘Otherwise, we're going to lose lots and lots of people dying of hunger.’
    2. 1.2A strong desire or craving.
      ‘her hunger for knowledge’
      • ‘The unsatisfied hunger is an ache for things spiritual.’
      • ‘It's infused with desire and loss, impossible tenderness, insatiable hunger.’
      • ‘However, I feel the need for a change and a hunger for new influences.’
      • ‘I personally think that hunger for change for change's sake is pretty infantile.’
      • ‘The hunger for food yes, but also the hunger to tell Chris what was in his heart.’
      • ‘The hunger is still there and the panel is very strong.’
      • ‘His point was that the kids from the under-advantaged neighborhoods have a stronger hunger.’
      • ‘Have sensible people never felt the insatiable hunger of infatuation?’
      • ‘The President fully understands people's hunger and thirst for justice.’
      • ‘For the shopaholic, there's an endless search for objects to satisfy a sense of inner longing or hunger.’
      • ‘And you get this hunger for his company, even his friendship, entirely through the voice and the language.’
      • ‘I once went to a car boot sale and marvelled at the greed and hunger of the bargain hunters, me included.’
      • ‘There was only one: the desire for vengeance, a hunger so strong that it had consumed his entire personality.’
      • ‘It was a grudge match, one neither could bear to lose, but gathering up the enthusiasm and hunger for the final shouldn't be a problem.’
      • ‘Lending libraries are a boon for those who have a hunger for reading.’
      • ‘He still possesses the same hunger and childlike love of the game that has defined him throughout his illustrious career.’
      • ‘It might not be ground-breaking but it sure sates the appetite that their hunger for great tunes has precipitated.’
      • ‘I'm very confident, the desire and hunger in the team is stronger than ever.’
      • ‘Throughout my life I've had a mad hunger for finding out things - for knowing things.’
      desire, craving, longing, yearning, pining, hankering, thirst, appetite, lust, ache, want, need
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  • 1Have a strong desire or craving for.

    ‘he hungered for a sense of self-worth’
    • ‘I've mentioned this before, but I am still hungering for an explanation.’
    • ‘Conspiracy is unnecessary when ideology hungers for power and its many adherents swarm of their own accord to the same pot of honey.’
    • ‘It hungers for change and progress, and some comics who are clearly on their way up can be hampered slightly if their show treads a little water this year.’
    • ‘Participation is what we were denied, and what we hungered for.’
    • ‘Aye, he was a kind and strong leader, but he hungered after adventure and ran after it with haste.’
    • ‘It's not a spiritual experience anymore and that's what people hunger for.’
    • ‘There are moments when it seems that a whole society, or the majority of a society is actually hungering for war.’
    • ‘He disbanded the group in 1982, hungering after a new direction and tired of the relentless pressure of his frontman role.’
    • ‘Because, somehow, somewhere along the way, I stopped hungering for it.’
    • ‘But humanity hungers for a sense of right and wrong, for some absolute moral values.’
    • ‘Republicans tend to assume that everyone hungers for more investment accounts to handle.’
    • ‘Maybe it is a symptom that we are hungering for something different.’
    • ‘Sure, I wander around checking out the talent, but there really is no one special I'm hungering for.’
    • ‘It's ironic that this apotheosis of flash over substance comes at a time when the public is hungering for greater perspective and deeper understanding.’
    • ‘I looked over at Ethan, his eyes on me, a sudden flash of desire in his eyes, I knew he still hungered for me as my lips curled into a smile.’
    • ‘The 18-year-old clearly loves playing up to the audience, as a performer she consistently hungers for attention.’
    • ‘The game that the comrades disapproved of because of its un-Soviet focus on the individual is ideal for an emerging nation, which hungers for new sports and new stars.’
    • ‘He hungers for a goodness that continually eludes him.’
    • ‘Maybe it's just that I don't hunger for films the way I do for books.’
    • ‘The consumer society hungers for the deviant and unexpected.’
    desire, crave, have a craving for
    long for, yearn for, have a yearning for, pine for, ache for, thirst for, have an appetite for, hanker after, lust after, want, need
    have a yen for, itch for, be dying for, be gagging for
    be athirst for, be desirous of
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  • 2archaic Feel or suffer hunger.

    ‘when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterwards hungered’
    • ‘By analogy, a mother does not love her child because it hungers and cries, even though its crying makes new demands upon her love.’
    • ‘Tell it to all those who hungered and thirsted and prayed and begged for help.’
    • ‘How many hungered, sickened or died as a result?’


Old English hungor (noun), hyngran (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch honger and German Hunger.