Definition of hanker in US English:



[no object]hanker after/for/to do something
  • Feel a strong desire for or to do something.

    ‘she hankered to go back’
    • ‘Right now it's just after 9am on the East Coast, so many of you are probably just settling in to your chairs with some hot coffee and a hankering to do something other than work.’
    • ‘English by birth, I'd been in Australia for about 10 years and had a hankering to return to my roots, if not permanently, then at least for a considerable length of time.’
    • ‘Lately I've had a powerful hankering to get on the radio again.’
    • ‘To be honest, I'm hankering to work on some of my ‘real’ writing for a bit, maybe putting out two new books using that cool new Cafe Press publishing service.’
    • ‘So, if you have a hankering to be creative and would like to makeover your home this spring, or you have a sewing machine stashed away that you never quite got round to using then this could be the opportunity you have been waiting for.’
    • ‘I have a hankering to become a Canadian, actually.’
    • ‘I had a hankering to resume the game of guessing songs again, although straining to hear other people's personal stereos in the gym is not only sadder than doing it on the bus but it makes you look stupid.’
    • ‘That was when I realised that the camera had stayed in its case all the way, and that I'd missed an opportunity to grab townscape shots from which to work up pictures of the kind I am hankering to paint.’
    • ‘I spent almost the whole day sleeping, which was decidedly lovely, and I've been hankering to play Civilization: Call to Power for a couple of days, so despite a long To Do List, that's what I'm going to do.’
    • ‘I still hanker to return home with my family one day but my view of NZ when I was growing up in the 1970's is dead and buried.’
    • ‘Besides, I had to tell Graham what had kept me and, in my experience, a story that's told too often gets to be tedious to the teller and I have a hankering to write it out properly one day.’
    • ‘I still cannot figure out why the machine dials the Internet every 15 minutes; I've checked every program that hankers to be online, and they all insist they're guiltless.’
    • ‘Two separate sets of friends had gone there and instructed me not to follow in their footsteps, but every time I passed the Spanish deli at Canonmills, I had a hankering to try the restaurant.’
    • ‘‘I know he had a hankering to be hands-on again,’ says McLeish.’
    • ‘Are you hankering to increase your knowledge of lesser psychedelic bands or the maybe just dig up some information on Holland, Dozier and Hollands' ill fated seventies soul label?’
    • ‘Prerequisites are a willingness to experiment, a desire to play, and a hankering to shake up preconceived notions about your art and photography.’
    • ‘I'm not a lawyer (never even had a teensy tiny hankering to go to law school), but a PhD student in political science.’
    • ‘Paul O'Neill was not a person looking, really hankering to get back into national politics and national policy anytime soon.’
    • ‘Our ability to feed our families, have universal health care or be a vibrant nation is becoming dependent on visiting tourists with disposable incomes who have a hankering to get high.’
    • ‘Thirty-four, and fit again, he has a hankering to get off the rollercoaster which has been his career since he was unveiled as Rangers' big-name Scottish signing two years ago.’
    yearn, long, have a longing, have a hankering, crave, desire, wish, want, hunger, thirst, lust, ache, be aching, itch, be itching, burn, be burning, pant, want badly, be eager, be desperate, be hungry, be greedy, be thirsty, be consumed with a desire, be consumed with the desire, be eating one's heart out
    longing, yearning, craving, desire, wish, need, hunger, thirst, urge, ache, itch, lust, burning, pining, appetite, passion, fancy
    View synonyms


Early 17th century: probably related to hang; compare with Dutch hunkeren.