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[huhng-ger] /ˈhʌŋ gər/
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.
Origin of hunger
before 900; Middle English; Old English hungor; cognate with German Hunger
Related forms
hungeringly, adverb
half-hungered, adjective
prehunger, noun
4. appetite, greed, lust, itch. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hunger
  • 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.
  • Which works synergistically with the tendency of processed food to evoke less of of a hunger satiation response.
  • Activity has previously been shown to reduce food intake, likely because it affects levels of the hunger hormones.
  • Now the danger is far more real-thousands of villagers have no food or water, and reports of hunger are widespread.
  • First, restricting food makes kids think not in terms of their own hunger but in terms of the presence and absence of food.
  • Relationship of hunger and food insecurity to food availability and consumption.
  • General information and resources on hunger and food security scroll down this page.
  • Widespread hunger remains intractable throughout the world and is exacting a high human toll.
British Dictionary definitions for hunger


a feeling of pain, emptiness, or weakness induced by lack of food
an appetite, desire, need, or craving: hunger for a woman
to have or cause to have a need or craving for food
(intransitive; usually foll by for or after) to have a great appetite or desire (for)
Word Origin
Old English hungor; related to Old High German hungar, Old Norse hungr, Gothic hūhrus
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 hunger

Old English hungor "unease or pain caused by lack of food, craving appetite, debility from lack of food," from Proto-Germanic *hungruz (cf. Old Frisian hunger, Old Saxon hungar, Old High German hungar, Old Norse hungr, German hunger, Dutch honger, Gothic huhrus), probably from PIE root *kenk- (2) "to suffer hunger or thirst." Hunger strike attested from 1885; earliest references are to prisoners in Russia.


Old English hyngran (cf. Old Saxon gihungrjan, Old High German hungaran, German hungern, Gothic huggrjan), from the source of hunger (n.). Related: Hungered; hungering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hunger in Medicine

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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Slang definitions & phrases for hunger


Related Terms

from hunger

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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