famine

[fam-in]
noun
1.
extreme and general scarcity of food, as in a country or a large geographical area.
2.
any extreme and general scarcity.
3.
extreme hunger; starvation.

Origin:
1325–75; Middle English < Middle French, derivative of faim hunger (< Latin famēs); see -ine2


2. dearth, paucity, poverty, meagerness, scantness.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
famine (ˈfæmɪn)
 
n
1.  a severe shortage of food, as through crop failure or overpopulation
2.  acute shortage of anything
3.  violent hunger
 
[C14: from Old French, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin famēs hunger]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

famine
mid-14c., from O.Fr. famine "hunger," from L. fames "hunger," of unknown origin.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Famine definition


The first mentioned in Scripture was so grievous as to compel Abraham to go down to the land of Egypt (Gen. 26:1). Another is mentioned as having occurred in the days of Isaac, causing him to go to Gerar (Gen. 26:1, 17). But the most remarkable of all was that which arose in Egypt in the days of Joseph, which lasted for seven years (Gen. 41-45). Famines were sent as an effect of God's anger against a guilty people (2 Kings 8:1, 2; Amos 8:11; Deut. 28:22-42; 2 Sam. 21:1; 2 Kings 6:25-28; 25:3; Jer. 14:15; 19:9; 42:17, etc.). A famine was predicted by Agabus (Acts 11:28). Josephus makes mention of the famine which occurred A.D. 45. Helena, queen of Adiabene, being at Jerusalem at that time, procured corn from Alexandria and figs from Cyprus for its poor inhabitants.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

famine

see feast or famine.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Locust swarms devastate crops and cause major agricultural damage and attendant human misery-famine and starvation.
But then if you closely examine the dates of the wave and the dates of the
  famine, you see that it is an insufficient explanation.
People keep scrapbooks and diaries more during wartime and after wartime, and
  famine and disease and fear.
Famine set in, the social order broke down and looting was rampant.
Idioms & Phrases
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