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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
  • At the same time as the useful life of consumer goods becomes shorter, consumers hanker after goods that endure.
  • For those who hanker after extraterrestrial life that is a pity.
  • Some manufacturers promise to strengthen them as if they secretly hanker to lift weights.
  • Sometimes the bread would come up in fair shape, and then not so anyone would hanker or it.
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
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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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