famish

verb
fam·ish | \ ˈfa-mish \
famished; famishing; famishes

Definition of famish 

transitive verb

1 : to cause to suffer severely from hunger

2 archaic : to cause to starve to death

intransitive verb

1 archaic : starve

2 : to suffer for lack of something necessary a moment when French poetry in particular was famishing for such invention —T. S. Eliot

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Other words from famish

famishment \ˈfa-mish-mənt \ noun

Did You Know?

Famish likely developed as an alteration of Middle English famen, meaning "to starve." The Middle English word was borrowed from the Anglo-French verb afamer, which etymologists believe came from Vulgar Latin affamare. We say "believe" because, while no written evidence has yet been found for the Vulgar Latin word affamare, it would be the expected source for the Anglo-French verb based on the combination of the Latin prefix ad- ("to" or "toward") and the root noun "fames" ("hunger"). In contemporary English, the verb "famish" is still used on rare occasions, but it is considerably less common than the related adjective "famished," which usually means "hungry" or "starving" but can also mean "needy" or "being in want."

Examples of famish in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The boys were famished and weak when they were found, having lost an average of more than four pounds each. John Bacon, ajc, "WATCH: Video shows rescued Thai soccer players flashing victory sign from hospital beds," 12 July 2018 The boys were famished and weak when they were found, having lost an average of more than four pounds each. John Bacon, ajc, "WATCH: Video shows rescued Thai soccer players flashing victory sign from hospital beds," 12 July 2018 The boys were famished and weak when they were found, having lost an average of more than four pounds each. John Bacon, ajc, "WATCH: Video shows rescued Thai soccer players flashing victory sign from hospital beds," 12 July 2018 The boys were famished and weak when they were found, having lost an average of more than four pounds each. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "How 100 heroes came together to rescue 12 boys and their coach from the Thailand cave," 11 July 2018 Your nephew can circulate with his camera for whimsical candid shots: famished guests loading up buffet plates, exuberant dancers in the conga line, the flower girls gleefully poking their fingers in the wedding cake. Steven P. Dinkin, sandiegouniontribune.com, "A wedding gift from a teenage photographer," 17 June 2018 After being swamped with a bevy of interviews throughout the day, Wiz is clearly famished. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Wiz Khalifa on Fatherhood, Working With A$AP Rocky & Why 'Rolling Papers' Is His '36 Chambers': 'That Sh-- Just Looks Classic'," 13 June 2018 Should you get famished while shopping the art, snack on lobster rolls, tacos, pork belly, pizza and beer from Old Town restaurants. Grace Wong, chicagotribune.com, "5 things to eat, drink, do: Build rooftop sundaes, try Malort sausages and more this weekend," 7 June 2018 The menu, posted above the far end of a bar that glows atomic orange, reads like a ransom note from a desperately famished kidnapper: rib tips, egg rolls, mostaccioli, french fries. Mike Sula, Chicago Reader, "Old Habits is bar food reborn," 20 Apr. 2018

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

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First Known Use of famish

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for famish

Middle English, probably alteration of famen, from Anglo-French afamer, from Vulgar Latin *affamare, from Latin ad- + fames

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Statistics for famish

Last Updated

14 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for famish

The first known use of famish was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for famish

famish

verb
fam·ish | \ ˈfa-mish \
famished; famishing

Kids Definition of famish

: starve

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More from Merriam-Webster on famish

See words that rhyme with famish

Spanish Central: Translation of famish

Britannica English: Translation of famish for Arabic Speakers

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