noun \ˈfa-mən\

: a situation in which many people do not have enough food to eat

Full Definition of FAMINE

:  an extreme scarcity of food
archaic :  starvation
archaic :  a ravenous appetite
:  a great shortage

Examples of FAMINE

  1. The famine affected half the continent.
  2. millions killed by war, drought, and famine

Origin of FAMINE

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from feim, faim hunger, from Latin fames
First Known Use: 14th century

Rhymes with FAMINE


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Extreme and protracted shortage of food, resulting in widespread hunger and a substantial increase in the death rate. General famines affect all classes or groups in the region of food shortage; class famines affect some classes or groups much more severely than others; regional famines affect only a particular region of a country. Causes may be natural or human. Natural causes include drought, flooding, unfavourable weather conditions, plant disease, and insect infestation. Human causes include war, overpopulation, faulty distribution systems, and high food prices. Several severe famines occurred in the 20th century, including those in China (1928–29, at least 3 million dead; 1959–61, 15–30 million), the U.S.S.R. (1921, more than 5 million; 1932–33, 6–8 million), India (1943–44, 1.5 million), Cambodia (1975–79, 1 million), and North Korea (1995–99, 2.5 million), and continued into the 21st century, as in sub-Saharan Africa.


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