Definition of starve in English:


Line breaks: starve
Pronunciation: /stɑːv


1Suffer or die or cause to suffer or die from hunger: [no object]: she left her animals to starve seven million starved to death (as adjective starving) the world’s starving children [with object]: for a while she had considered starving herself
More example sentences
  • Otherwise, we'd all have frozen and starved to death.
  • A prisoner has starved to death after fasting for seven months, becoming the 48th person to die in hunger strikes protesting against changes to Turkey's prison system.
  • There is no cause to regret the passing of that system - millions of peasants starved to death - and those who now point to the absence of school fees in that period are at any rate one-sided.
dying of hunger, dying from lack of food, faint from lack of food, deprived of food, undernourished, malnourished, starved, half-starved, unfed;
very hungry, ravenous, famished, empty, hollow;
(be starving)be hungry
informal could eat a horse
1.1 (be starving or starved) informal Feel very hungry: I don’t know about you, but I’m starving
More example sentences
  • It was getting near to midday and I was starving hungry.
  • I was ravenously starving all the time and I have nothing but admiration for people who manage this lifestyle.
  • Everyone was famished, desperate and starving.
1.2 [with object] (starve someone out or into) Force someone out of (a place) or into (a specified state) by starvation: the Royalists were starved out after eleven days German U-boats hoping to starve Britain into submission
More example sentences
  • ‘Moral issues are our bread and butter and we will not be starved out of this activity by such misguided and poorly grounded legislation,’ said Father Norden.
  • Again, we could have blockaded and starved them out but that was not necessary.
  • What if Germany's U-boats had won the Battle of the Atlantic and starved Britain into submission?
1.3 [with object] (usually be starved of or US for) Deprive of something necessary: the arts are being starved of funds
More example sentences
  • Not a duff track among them, honestly, and the thing didn't even make it past 20 minutes, so naturally I was starved for more.
  • Wavell believed that he was being starved of the necessary reinforcements which he believed he needed and he resigned in February 1942.
  • Mullan speaks about his children with affection, something he was starved of by his own father, Charles.
2 [no object] archaic or dialect Be freezing cold: pull down that window for we are perfectly starving here
More example sentences
  • [He'll] be obleeged to bring the shakedown near the keep her from starving with the cold.


Old English steorfan 'to die', of Germanic origin, probably from a base meaning 'be rigid' (compare with stare); related to Dutch sterven and German sterben.


starve the beast

Limit or reduce government expenditure by cutting taxes: conservatives like to say their strategy of tax cuts all the time is designed to starve the beast
More example sentences
  • This is the kind of stuff that happens in the real world when "starve the beast" becomes the mantra of a powerful claque.
  • In the next breath, sounding like a "starve the beast" conservative, she said she hoped the price of oil, the principal variable of state revenue, would not rise too much.
  • Most of our politicians cannot discipline themselves to spend other peoples' money wisely. Starve the beast!

Definition of starve in: