Definition of famine in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfamɪn/


[mass noun]
1Extreme scarcity of food: drought resulted in famine throughout the region [count noun]: the famine of 1921-2
More example sentences
  • But there is no doubt that the number of deaths from famine and from the results of malnutrition were at least of the order associated with the great famines of the past.
  • For example, warring factions often induce drought and famine through the use of scorched-earth tactics.
  • A poorly thought out redistribution policy could result in famine and disaster similar to what has happened in Zimbabwe.
scarcity of food, food shortages;
deprivation, want
1.1 [count noun] A shortage: the cotton famine of the 1860s
More example sentences
  • Being an aged citizen of times long gone, I can recall my old grandad telling me about how the American Civil War brought about a cotton famine in the Lancashire mills.
  • He also credits television images with increasing the empathy of the young in rich countries for the effects of poverty, famines, and civil wars in poorer areas of the world.
  • Experts believe that the North Korean system is in terminal decline, and its people suffer great poverty and recurring famines.
shortage, scarcity, lack, dearth, want, deficiency, insufficiency, shortfall, undersupply, scantiness, rareness, paucity, poverty, drought, unavailability
rare exiguity, exiguousness
1.2 archaic Hunger.
Example sentences
  • Once, the mass of men worked to stave off hunger and famine; now it's coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes that they have to worry about.
  • The world's history records that hunger and famine can seriously hurt societies.


Late Middle English: from Old French, from faim 'hunger', from Latin fames.

Words that rhyme with famine

examine, gamin

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fam¦ine

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