hunger

1 of 2

noun

hun·​ger ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio)
1
a
: a craving or urgent need for food or a specific nutrient
b
: an uneasy sensation occasioned by the lack of food
The small meal wasn't enough to satisfy his hunger.
c
: a weakened condition brought about by prolonged lack of food
died of hunger
2
: a strong desire : craving
a hunger for success

hunger

2 of 2

verb

hungered; hungering ˈhəŋ-g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hunger (audio)

intransitive verb

1
: to feel or suffer hunger (see hunger entry 1)
feasting while the poor hunger
2
: to have an eager desire
The nation hungers for a strong leader.
Phrases
from hunger
: very bad or inept
the jokes were from hungerMordecai Richler
Choose the Right Synonym for hunger

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 hunger in a Sentence

Noun She has been a leader in the fight against world hunger. One sandwich wasn't enough to satisfy his hunger. Her students have a genuine hunger for knowledge.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
India last year became the world's most populous nation, with 1.4 billion people and a hunger for energy that is rising fast. Sibi Arasu, Quartz, 22 Feb. 2024 There’s a hunger for the drama of rivalries and the chaos of modern life to be brought onto the court. Tim Ellis, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024 Her interests are not in games or ecommerce or the usual stuff that New York City VCs hunger to disrupt. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, 14 Feb. 2024 Proceeds benefit the charity’s hunger relief programs. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9 Feb. 2024 Related article Landmark buildings ablaze in Khartoum as Sudan fighting erupts Nearly 18 million people are facing acute hunger, according to OCHA, with civilian infrastructure like water supplies damaged by the fighting, and three-quarters of health facilities not functioning in conflict areas. Nimi Princewill, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 As this year’s honoree, he was recognized for his efforts in founding the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation to alleviate hunger and homelessness, and on the red carpet ahead of accepting his award, the musician also gave fans some exciting insight into his son Jake's upcoming wedding to Brown. Jordan Greene, Peoplemag, 6 Feb. 2024 Doug founded Care to Learn in 2008 to meet the health, hunger and hygiene needs of students in the Missouri area. Skyler Trepel, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 The mysterious reality is that if everyone had survived the initial crash, then everyone would also have died of hunger. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, 8 Feb. 2024
Verb
Having helped put Barry behind bars, Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) can't suppress his outsized ego, which hungers more for glory than justice. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, 13 Apr. 2023 But there were many, many people who wanted what WFB had to offer, and even hungered for it. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 25 Jan. 2024 The problem for the diminishing few in the Republican Party who hunger for responsible conservative governance is that these MAGA Media celebrities are leading the GOP down a path of isolation, which could ultimately result in its irrelevance with the rest of society. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 31 Jan. 2024 Tom was of course not a nincompoop, but a serious, thoughtful person who hungered to add substance to sketch comedy. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 29 Dec. 2023 But both DeSantis and Newsom are ambitious politicians who hunger for publicity. Faith E. Pinho, Los Angeles Times, 29 Nov. 2023 Ever an innovator, McCraney is looking for ways to revitalize not only his own writing practice but the creative practice of theater artists like him who are hungering for new models, new modes of inspiration and new mechanisms of support. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 12 Sep. 2023 The supercharged mood on that occasion, inside the state’s two biggest fan bases, each of which had hungered so long not just for recognition and respect for their school, but for opportunity, was dynamic. Gordon Monson, The Salt Lake Tribune, 31 July 2023 This is a show about people who are hungering for fame. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hunger.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English hungor; akin to Old High German hungar hunger, Lithuanian kanka torture

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hunger was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near hunger

Cite this Entry

“Hunger.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hunger. Accessed 3 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

hunger

1 of 2 noun
hun·​ger ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio)
1
a
: a desire or a need for food
b
: an uneasy feeling or weakened condition resulting from lack of food
2
: a strong desire : craving
a hunger for praise
hunger adjective

hunger

2 of 2 verb
hungered; hungering -g(ə-)riŋ How to pronounce hunger (audio)
1
: to feel or suffer hunger
2
: to have an eager desire
hungered for affection

Medical Definition

hunger

noun
hun·​ger ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio)
1
: a craving, desire, or urgent need for food
2
: an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the lack of food and resulting directly from stimulation of the sensory nerves of the stomach by the contraction and churning movement of the empty stomach
3
: a weakened disordered condition brought about by prolonged lack of food
die of hunger

More from Merriam-Webster on hunger

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