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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Government shutdowns are almost routine now Trump has been hankering for another shutdown ever since the last one ended. Dylan Scott, Vox, "Why the blame game over the government shutdown is pointless," 21 Dec. 2018 Jimmy Graham: Aaron Rodgers has been hankering for those chess piece tight ends the last couple seasons, first Jared Cook, then Martellus Bennett, now Graham. Gary Gramling, SI.com, "David Johnson Is No. 2, Be Patient and Wait for Luck and Mahomes, the Non-Saquon Rookie You Want," 6 July 2018 This is wishful thinking, confusing what activists are hankering for with what marginal Democratic voters might want. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 2018 Especially with visitors hankering for the perfectly Instagrammable roadside shot, or an indulgent plate of chicken and waffles. Marie Salcido, Sunset, "A Beloved Wine Country Diner Has Closed its Doors," 22 Jan. 2018 Known by affectionate nicknames like Quiz Daddy or Trap Trebek, Rogowsky—and his puns—are a big part of why so many people hanker for their HQ Trivia fix each day. Time Staff, Time, "The 25 Most Influential People on the Internet," 28 June 2018 Mrs May is a 1950s Tory who hankers after a more homogenous Britain. The Economist, "Sajid Javid gets to work on a formidable in-tray," 3 May 2018 The storefront's window displays have been cleaned out, as customers hankering for a Knudsen's treat pull in and out of the parking lot in dismay. Aleanna Siacon, Detroit Free Press, "Knudsen's Danish Bakery in North Rosedale Park shuts after 95 years," 4 May 2018 This is shaking up a society that has long prized stability, opening cultural divides between those who embrace the new Germany and those who hanker for the familiar; between urban and rural voters; between young and old. The Economist, "Germany is becoming more open and diverse," 14 Apr. 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of hanker

1627, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for hanker

probably from Dutch dialect hankeren

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hanker

Dictionary Entries near hanker






hank for hank


Statistics for hanker

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hanker

The first known use of hanker was in 1627

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hanker



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

Comments on hanker

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


showing courage and determination

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Add Diction

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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