Definition of thirst in English:



  • 1[mass noun] A feeling of needing or wanting to drink something.

    ‘they quenched their thirst with spring water’
    • ‘I arrived at about the same time the later bus would have done with a raging thirst and neither in the mood nor the physical condition for dancing.’
    • ‘I had a raging thirst and there was tubing running through my nose and down the back of my throat, which felt incredibly dry.’
    • ‘Sometimes people have dry skin and unquenchable thirst even though they drink lots of water.’
    • ‘But once we've quenched our thirst, having just ended a cross-town walk, we're more interested in food than booze.’
    • ‘Laughter made her thirsty, and thirst made her drink.’
    • ‘He no longer quenches his thirst by drinking sodas.’
    • ‘I have a raging thirst, and the beginnings of a headache.’
    • ‘Many people drink far too little, quenching their thirst with coffee and tea - both of which are diuretics and actually extract water from the cells.’
    • ‘A few glasses of the juice quenches thirst and satisfies hunger, said Elis.’
    • ‘It's very common to mistake thirst for hunger pangs, especially before bed.’
    • ‘This is fine, because the child is now drinking to counteract thirst, not drinking for the sweet taste.’
    • ‘After my hunger and thirst was quenched, I climbed up into my loft and fell asleep.’
    • ‘To quench your thirst, you drink a lot of water and other beverages, and that leads to more frequent urination.’
    • ‘They obtain most of their water from prey but will drink seawater to satisfy thirst also.’
    • ‘A friendly efficient staff is happy to help you quench your thirst by bringing you a drink from the fully stocked bar.’
    • ‘An hour or so later the doctor saw her again and said she would be discharged if her temperature returned to normal and if she was able to hold down the water she was drinking to relieve her thirst.’
    • ‘We moved back to the bar joking and laughing, and ordered drinks to quench our thirst.’
    • ‘He licked rainwater from his clothes to quench his raging thirst and jangled his keys to try to attract attention.’
    • ‘A consequence of her condition is that Terri will experience no pain, nor any sensation of thirst or hunger, as a result of the removal of her feeding tube.’
    • ‘A drink satisfies thirst and the coaster prevents unsightly ring marks on your desk.’
    thirstiness, dryness
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    1. 1.1Lack of the liquid needed to sustain life.
      ‘tens of thousands died of thirst and starvation’
      • ‘They had no access to water, so their cattle died of thirst, and they in turn were now starving to death.’
      • ‘If they weren't spotted in time by relatives lucky enough to realize they were missing and brave enough to search for them, they starved to death or died of thirst.’
      • ‘He has come close to dying from thirst and fought off various tropical diseases.’
      • ‘And so while some died from sickness, others died from thirst.’
      • ‘At one point the whole ‘army’ nearly died of thirst in the Gobi.’
      • ‘He crushes a cobra to save his life, moves with nomads through Somalia, and waits to die from thirst beneath a truck in the Sahara.’
      • ‘They can be surrounded with food and water but die from starvation or thirst because they have such tiny throats that makes it impossible for them to swallow.’
      • ‘Many of my comrades were already dead from hunger, thirst and lack of air.’
      • ‘The water supply of the future may be so limited that most of the poor and needy will die of thirst.’
      • ‘He found that soldiers and sailors, when driven by extreme thirst, would drink sea water, or their urine, both of which were desperately harmful.’
      • ‘When the sea ice receded from the coast of Nunivak Island in Alaska, it left 11 muskoxen trapped on a small islet offshore, doomed to die of starvation or thirst.’
      • ‘So while most of the city has been left to die of starvation, thirst, heat, disease and violence, a few people have some support.’
      • ‘The men were weary with starvation and thirst, when they were eventually rescued by Solomon Islanders loyal to the Allies.’
      • ‘Those who can afford to buy clean water don't die of thirst or diarrhea.’
      • ‘Odds-on the chain would get caught under a shed or in the barbed wire of a fence - and the dog would die of thirst, hunger or strangulation.’
      • ‘Hundreds of thousands, millions of Hungarian people live day to day and die from starvation, thirst and poverty in our country.’
      • ‘Two patients died of thirst as they were unable to swallow water without assistance.’
      • ‘Their tragedy was bleakly mirrored by that of the Maya, who systematically exhausted their resource base, leading to death from starvation and thirst.’
      • ‘I have visions of modern man dying of thirst and exhaustion beside an antique pump for want of a simple bit of practical knowledge.’
      • ‘The man sets off across the desert; when the time comes to drink there is nothing in the water bottle, and he dies of thirst.’
    2. 1.2A strong desire for something.
      ‘his thirst for knowledge was mainly academic’
      • ‘The specimen prompted him to focus his thirst for knowledge and love of reading on mineralogy.’
      • ‘Like the first taste of scotch to a former alcoholic who breaks the pledge, what followed was a raging thirst for everything and anything western.’
      • ‘Yet it is his thirst for knowledge, his insatiable desire to get a little better than he was yesterday, that makes him such a delightful curiosity.’
      • ‘It is not hard to see why the industry is making such an investment - it has a clear case for wanting to sustain the nation's thirst for oil and gas.’
      • ‘The media should resist the temptation to quench this thirst for sensationalism but there are some who never stand firm.’
      craving, strong desire, longing, yearning, avidity, hunger, voracity, keenness, eagerness, lust, appetite, passion, love
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  • 1Have a strong desire for something.

    ‘an opponent thirsting for revenge’
    • ‘After all the temptations of the 20th century and the lack of any prospects for the future, people's souls are thirsting for kitsch.’
    • ‘But then he started thirsting for power, and he would do anything for it.’
    • ‘This invitation is also for us, because in every century, the human heart thirsts for God's love.’
    • ‘My spirit thirsts for information and enlightenment.’
    • ‘The class has been growing every week - everyone is thirsting for information.’
    crave, want, covet, desire, hunger after, hunger for, lust after, lust for, hanker after, hanker for, have one's heart set on
    wish, long, have a longing, yearn, be hungry, be itching, pant, be desperate, be consumed with desire
    have a yen, be dying
    be athirst
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  • 2archaic Feel a need to drink something.

    ‘a few could drink while many thirsted’
    • ‘He told her that whoever drank of the water of heaven would never thirst again.’
    • ‘He hungers, but he is steadfast; he thirsts, but he is steadfast.’
    • ‘‘I'm thirsting, Susanna,’ she said as we neared my front door, ‘Could we perhaps go in and get a drink?’’
    • ‘I groaned, and drank as if I had thirsted for days.’


Old English thurst (noun), thyrstan (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch dorst, dorsten and German Durst, dürsten.