famine

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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

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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

play
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

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