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[hang-ker] /ˈhæŋ kər/
verb (used without object)
to have a restless or incessant longing (often followed by after, for, or an infinitive).
Origin of hanker
early Dutch dialect
1595-1605; < early Dutch dialect hankeren (cognate with Dutch hunkeren), frequentative of hangen to hang
Related forms
hankerer, noun
See yearn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for hanker
Historical Examples
  • You'll have everything a woman can hanker after in this world—the best there is, and Steve shall have it, too, for your sake.

    Her Own Way Clyde Fitch
  • There's days when I feel uneasy every minute and hanker for a deck underneath me.

    Cy Whittaker's Place Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Oh, don't fancy I am sentimental and hanker after the good old days.

    The Trees of Pride G.K. Chesterton
  • Here, by Godfreys, they don't give us no time to hanker for nothin'.

    Galusha the Magnificent Joseph C. Lincoln
  • I can make a living for myself and my small family, and we do not hanker after riches.

    The Brand of Silence Harrington Strong
  • Trivial might some say who hanker after giantesque composition.

    Adventures in the Arts Marsden Hartley
  • I certainly do hanker for about four or five little curly-headed rascals to take on my knee.

    The Turmoil Booth Tarkington
  • It was characteristic of Jamie that still he did not hanker for more money.

    Pirate Gold Frederic Jesup Stimson
  • And what I'd seen of him didn't seem to make me hanker after any further acquaintance with him.

  • If you can contrive to suggest that I hanker after pistols, perhaps he will say 'swords.'

    To Tell You the Truth Leonard Merrick
British Dictionary definitions for hanker


foll by for, after, or an infinitive. to have a yearning (for something or to do something)
Derived Forms
hankering, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch dialect hankeren
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 hanker

c.1600, of unknown origin, probably from Flemish hankeren, related to Dutch hunkeren "to hanker," of unknown origin; perhaps an intensive of Middle Dutch hangen "to hang" (see hang (v.)). If so, the notion is of "lingering about" with longing or craving. Related: Hankered; hankering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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