Definition of hunger in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈhʌŋɡə/


[mass noun]
1A feeling of discomfort or weakness caused by lack of food, coupled with the desire to eat: she was faint with hunger
More example sentences
  • Patients with dementia go walking for many reasons, including discomfort, hunger or pain.
  • Food stimulation also resulted in increases in self-reports of hunger and desire for food.
  • I was constantly confronted with my own weaknesses, my hunger, my low tolerance for pain.
lack of food, need for food, hungriness, ravenousness, emptiness;
starvation, famine, malnutrition, malnourishment, undernourishment
rare famishment, inanition
1.1A severe lack of food: they died from cold and hunger
More example sentences
  • These camps face severe problems of hunger, disease as well as security.
  • One result of this was occasional and localized food shortages so severe as to occasion hunger, starvation, and death.
  • Up to 3 million people are suffering from severe hunger while another 3 million have not got enough to eat.
1.2A strong desire or craving: her hunger for knowledge
More example sentences
  • It's infused with desire and loss, impossible tenderness, insatiable hunger.
  • Have sensible people never felt the insatiable hunger of infatuation?
  • There was only one: the desire for vengeance, a hunger so strong that it had consumed his entire personality.
desire, craving, longing, yearning, pining, hankering, thirst, appetite, lust, ache, want, need
informal itch, yen
rare appetence, appetency


[no object]
1 (hunger after/for) Have a strong desire or craving for: he hungered for a sense of self-worth
More example sentences
  • But humanity hungers for a sense of right and wrong, for some absolute moral values.
  • I looked over at Ethan, his eyes on me, a sudden flash of desire in his eyes, I knew he still hungered for me as my lips curled into a smile.
  • Aye, he was a kind and strong leader, but he hungered after adventure and ran after it with haste.
desire, crave, have a craving for;
long for, yearn for, have a yearning for, pine for, ache for, thirst for, have an appetite for, hanker after, lust after, want, need
informal have a yen for, itch for, be dying for, be gagging for
archaic be athirst for, be desirous of
2 archaic Feel or suffer hunger: when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he afterwards hungered
More example sentences
  • How many hungered, sickened or died as a result?
  • Tell it to all those who hungered and thirsted and prayed and begged for help.
  • By analogy, a mother does not love her child because it hungers and cries, even though its crying makes new demands upon her love.


Old English hungor (noun), hyngran (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch honger and German Hunger.

Words that rhyme with hunger

sangha, Younger

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: hun¦ger

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