craved; craving

transitive verb

: to ask for earnestly : beg, demand
crave a pardon for neglect
: to want greatly : need
craves drugs
craves attention
: to yearn for
crave a vanished youth

intransitive verb

: to have a strong or inward desire
craves after affection
craver noun
Choose the Right Synonym for crave

desire, wish, want, crave, covet mean to have a longing for.

desire stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim.

desires to start a new life

wish sometimes implies a general or transient longing especially for the unattainable.

wishes for permanent world peace

want specifically suggests a felt need or lack.

wants to have a family

crave stresses the force of physical appetite or emotional need.

craves sweets

covet implies strong envious desire.

covets his rise to fame

Examples of crave in a Sentence

Like many celebrities, he craves attention. I was craving french fries, so I pulled into the nearest fast-food restaurant.
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These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'crave.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Old English crafian; akin to Old Norse krefja to crave, demand

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of crave was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near crave

Cite this Entry

“Crave.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


craved; craving
: to ask earnestly : beg
crave a person's pardon
: to have a strong desire for
crave a glass of water
crave affection

More from Merriam-Webster on crave

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