Definition of famish in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈfamɪʃ/


[with object] archaic
1Reduce (someone) to extreme hunger: they had famished the city into surrender
More example sentences
  • Many people also opt for famishing themselves in order to shed weight more quickly. But famishing oneself is not a recommendation of quick weight loss.
  • I was still wondering what famished them, since the reason for their leanness, and their skin's sad scurf, was not obvious yet.
1.1 [no object] Be extremely hungry.
Example sentences
  • Jordan said: ‘It looked famished and was a bit unsteady on its feet.’
  • Burning off fat rather than energy stored in muscles also means you are less likely to feel famished after an exercise session and order that self-defeating portion of fries at the health club restaurant.
  • And some of them arrived in very bad states of malnutrition, also [suffering from] skin diseases and very, very famished and exhausted.


Middle English: from obsolete fame 'starve, famish', from Old French afamer, based on Latin fames 'hunger'.

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