half starved


verb (used without object), starved, starving.
to die or perish from lack of food or nourishment.
to be in the process of perishing or suffering severely from hunger.
to suffer from extreme poverty and need.
to feel a strong need or desire: The child was starving for affection.
Chiefly British Dialect. to perish or suffer extremely from cold.
Obsolete. to die.
verb (used with object), starved, starving.
to cause to starve; kill, weaken, or reduce by lack of food.
to subdue, or force to some condition or action, by hunger: to starve a besieged garrison into a surrender.
to cause to suffer for lack of something needed or craved.
Chiefly British Dialect. to cause to perish, or to suffer extremely, from cold.

before 1000; Middle English sterven, Old English steorfan to die; cognate with German sterben

half-starved, adjective
half-starving, adjective
self-starved, adjective
unstarved, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
starve (stɑːv)
vb (foll by of or for) (foll by into)
1.  to die or cause to die from lack of food
2.  to deprive (a person or animal) or (of a person, etc) to be deprived of food
3.  informal (intr) to be very hungry
4.  to deprive or be deprived (of something necessary), esp so as to cause suffering or malfunctioning: the engine was starved of fuel
5.  to bring (to) a specified condition by starving: to starve someone into submission
6.  archaic to be or cause to be extremely cold
[Old English steorfan to die; related to Old Frisian sterva to die, Old High German sterban to die]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. steorfan "to die" (pt. stearf, pp. storfen), from P.Gmc. *sterban "be stiff" (cf. O.Fris. sterva, Du. sterven, O.H.G. sterban "to die," O.N. stjarfi "tetanus"), from PIE base *ster- "stiff, rigid" (cf. Gk. sterphnios "stiff, rigid," sterphos "hide, skin," O.C.S. strublu "strong, hard;" see
stare). The conjugation became weak in Eng. by 16c. The sense narrowed to "die of cold" (14c.); meaning "to kill with hunger" is first recorded 1530 (earlier to starve of hunger, 1124). Intrans. sense of "to die of hunger" dates from 1578. Ger. cognate sterben retains the original sense of the word, but the Eng. has come so far from its origins that starve to death (1910) is now common. Starvation (1778) is a hybrid, with a L. ending, apparently first used in ref. to British policies toward rebellious New England colonies.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

starve (stärv)
v. starved, starv·ing, starves

  1. To suffer or die from extreme or prolonged lack of food.

  2. To deprive of food so as to cause suffering or death.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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