famine

noun fam·ine \ ˈfa-mən \

Definition of famine

1 :an extreme scarcity of food
  • The famine affected most of the country.
2 archaic :starvation
3 archaic :a ravenous appetite
4 :a great shortage
  • Transportation problems resulted in a coal famine.

Examples of famine in a Sentence

  1. The famine affected half the continent.

  2. millions killed by war, drought, and famine

Recent Examples of famine from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'famine.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of famine

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from feim, faim hunger, from Latin fames


FAMINE Defined for English Language Learners

famine

noun

Definition of famine for English Language Learners

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


FAMINE Defined for Kids

famine

noun fam·ine \ ˈfa-mən \

Definition of famine for Students

:a very great shortage of food that affects many people over a wide area


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up famine? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

cautious about doing something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Forms of Government Quiz

  • knupfer-painting-solon-before-croesus
  • A gerontocracy is rule by:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!