han·​ker | \ ˈhaŋ-kər How to pronounce hanker (audio) \
hankered; hankering\ ˈhaŋ-​k(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce hankering (audio) \

Definition of hanker

intransitive verb

: to have a strong or persistent desire : yearn often used with for or after

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Other Words from hanker

hankerer \ ˈhaŋ-​kər-​ər How to pronounce hankerer (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for hanker

long, yearn, hanker, pine, hunger, thirst mean to have a strong desire for something. long implies a wishing with one's whole heart and often a striving to attain. longed for some rest yearn suggests an eager, restless, or painful longing. yearned for a stage career hanker suggests the uneasy promptings of unsatisfied appetite or desire. always hankering for money pine implies a languishing or a fruitless longing for what is impossible. pined for a lost love hunger and thirst imply an insistent or impatient craving or a compelling need. hungered for a business of his own thirsted for power

Examples of hanker in a Sentence

By the middle of the winter, they were hankering for a warm day.
Recent Examples on the Web As with every emerging great power, China’s hankering to exert its influence is growing along with its stature. The Economist, "The superpower split Don’t be fooled by the trade deal between America and China," 2 Jan. 2020 The bad news for any team hankering to take swings in that bandbox is, well, [gestures at the section about Verlander and Cole and Greinke]. Jon Tayler, SI.com, "Good Luck Stopping the Astros in October," 26 Sep. 2019 West Valley residents hankering to play blackjack near home won't have to wait much longer. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Much bigger Desert Diamond Casino near Glendale hiring 1,300 now for February opening," 19 Nov. 2019 Other dictionaries come up with longing, yearning, pining, hankering, and desire. Cassie Werber, Quartz, "Happiness and grief change depending what language you’re speaking," 22 Dec. 2019 The classic perception of posh old men in red trousers hankering for the good old days misses the point. Luke Mcgee, CNN, "The UK's next prime minister will be chosen by 0.2% of the nation," 6 July 2019 Delaware Dover: The deadline is nigh for anyone hankering to be the state’s chief justice. USA TODAY, "Disney surprise, foreign feral hogs, porous pavement: News from around our 50 states," 13 Sep. 2019 This is not the first time that highly qualified individuals have hankered after low-paying jobs in India. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "An IIT post-graduate has turned down high-paying jobs to become a railway track maintainer," 27 Aug. 2019 Here’s hoping our children and grandchildren will be smarter the next time the Broncos come around, with a hankering to build a new stadium. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kickin’ It with Kiz: Did it require prodding from Uncle Vic Fangio for John Elway to admit his past NFL draft sins?," 7 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hanker.' 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 hanker

1627, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hanker

probably from Dutch dialect hankeren

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Time Traveler for hanker

Time Traveler

The first known use of hanker was in 1627

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Statistics for hanker

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hanker.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hanker. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for hanker


How to pronounce hanker (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hanker

informal + old-fashioned : to have a strong or constant desire for something


han·​ker | \ ˈhaŋ-kər How to pronounce hanker (audio) \
hankered; hankering

Kids Definition of hanker

: to have a great desire I'm hankering for chocolate.

More from Merriam-Webster on hanker

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hanker

Spanish Central: Translation of hanker

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