a compelling need or desire for food.
the painful sensation or state of weakness caused by the need of food: to collapse from hunger.
a shortage of food; famine.
a strong or compelling desire or craving: hunger for power.
verb (used without object)
to feel hunger; be hungry.
to have a strong desire.
verb (used with object)
Rare. to subject to hunger; starve.
from hunger, Slang. deplorably bad; dreadful: The styles in coats this winter are from hunger. Also, strictly from hunger.

before 900; Middle English; Old English hungor; cognate with German Hunger

hungeringly, adverb
half-hungered, adjective
prehunger, noun

4. appetite, greed, lust, itch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
hunger (ˈhʌŋɡə)
1.  a feeling of pain, emptiness, or weakness induced by lack of food
2.  an appetite, desire, need, or craving: hunger for a woman
3.  to have or cause to have a need or craving for food
4.  (intr; usually foll by for or after) to have a great appetite or desire (for)
[Old English hungor; related to Old High German hungar, Old Norse hungr, Gothic hūhrus]

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. hungor "unease or pain caused by lack of food, craving appetite, debility from lack of food," from P.Gmc. *khungrus (cf. O.H.G. hungar, O.N. hungr, Ger. hunger, Du. honger, Goth. huhrus), probably from PIE base *kenk- "to burn, be dry, pain." Hungry is O.E. hungrig.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

hunger hun·ger (hŭng'gər)

  1. A strong desire or need for food.

  2. The discomfort, weakness, or pain caused by a prolonged lack of food.

  3. A strong desire or craving, as for affection.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Example sentences
There are plenty of reasons to worry about food: uncertain politics, volatile prices, hunger amid plenty.
Hunger is not a function of simple supply and demand, but population size matched to productive potential of food and water.
And growing economic pressure globally to produce biofuels rather than food may mean that hunger will not be erased anytime soon.
Widespread hunger remains intractable throughout the world and is exacting a high human toll.
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