9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[fam-isht] /ˈfæm ɪʃt/
extremely hungry:
to be famished after a hike; famished, homeless multitudes.
Origin of famished
late Middle English
1375-1425; late Middle English; see famish, -ed2
Related forms
half-famished, adjective
See hungry.


[fam-ish] /ˈfæm ɪʃ/
verb (used with object), verb (used without object), Archaic.
to suffer or cause to suffer extreme hunger; starve.
to starve to death.
1350-1400; Middle English famisshe, equivalent to famen to starve (< Anglo-French, Middle French afamer < Vulgar Latin *affamāre, equivalent to Latin af- af- + famāre, derivative of famēs hunger) + -isshe -ish2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for famished
  • He would act famished and would grab food as if he was starving.
  • It's not the lack of food, but the regime's refusal to let it reach the famished.
  • Elephant ivory paid for weaponry, while other wildlife became bush meat for soldiers and famished villagers.
  • Bulimics often skip meals until they are famished and then binge and purge.
  • famished townsfolk have already eaten their neighbours' dogs and are reduced to scrounging for snails.
  • But it also sets up a stand inside that caters to the famished stars who drop by after the awards.
  • The aim was to provide cheap nourishment for a famished nation.
  • Or when the famished pair sneaked food into their hotel room because they feared they could not afford the hotel's meals.
  • Certainly, the burgeoning game industry is famished for new talent.
  • famished children in refugee camps find themselves unable to outpace and catch lizards.
British Dictionary definitions for famished


(now usually passive) to be or make very hungry or weak
(archaic) to die or cause to die from starvation
(Irish) to make very cold: I was famished with the cold
Derived Forms
famishment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French afamer, via Vulgar Latin, from Latin famēsfamine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for famished



c.1400, famyschen, alteration of famen (late 14c.), a shortening of Old French afamer, from Vulgar Latin *affamare "to bring to hunger," from ad famem, from Latin fames "hunger" (see famine).

Ending changed mid-14c. to -ish under influence of ravish, anguish, etc. The intransitive sense is from 1520s. Related: Famished; famishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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