hunger

noun
hun·​ger | \ ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio) \

Definition of hunger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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
from hunger
: very bad or inept the jokes were from hunger— Mordecai Richler

hunger

verb
hungered; hungering\ ˈhəŋ-​g(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce hungering (audio) \

Definition of hunger (Entry 2 of 2)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for hunger

Synonyms: Noun

appetite, belly, emptiness, famishment, munchies, stomach

Antonyms: Noun

inappetence

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for hunger

Verb

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Given that more than 12 million children in the U.S. face hunger every day, but the country currently wastes upwards of 30% of its food supply, these innovative programs have the potential to do a whole lot of good. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "A School Is Turning Its Leftover Cafeteria Food Into Frozen Take-Home Meals for Kids," 5 Apr. 2019 But on a federal level, despite more hunger for alternatives, not enough was invested to be truly transformative. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Public transit’s missed opportunity," 20 Nov. 2018 Those events arguably deepened Brazilians’ hunger for radical change after years of turmoil that provoked rage at the ruling class. Peter Prengaman, The Seattle Times, "A rise from marginal lawmaker to presidential front-runner," 27 Oct. 2018 The 1973-74 Star Trek: The Animated Series (TAS) helped feed fans hunger for more Trek between the cancellation of the original series and the first Star Trek film in 1979. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "Where Is Star Trek Boldly Going?," 10 Sep. 2018 Diversity is something that the Hollywood powers-that-be have long struggled with, despite the public's obvious hunger for more. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Warner Bros. and HBO Just Announced a Major Step Forward for Diversity in Hollywood," 5 Sep. 2018 China’s hunger for soybeans could deepen ties further. Raymond Zhong, BostonGlobe.com, "China’s taste for soybeans is a weak spot in trade war with Trump," 9 July 2018 China’s hunger for soybeans could deepen ties further. Raymond Zhong, New York Times, "China’s Taste for Soybeans Is a Weak Spot in the Trade War With Trump," 9 July 2018 The white man worked at their destruction because of hunger for Indian land and an idealistic concept that Indians should be transformed into imitation white men. Olivia B. Waxman, Time, "The True Story Behind Woman Walks Ahead," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The liberal sees his virtue in speaking up for the underdog, hungering for social justice, showing a spirit of empathy. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "There’s Too Much Virtue in Politics," 31 July 2018 The serial worrier in me can’t resist issuing a stern caution to those who hunger for the modern-day Transaction Game as much as (or more than) the game itself. Marc Stein, New York Times, "The N.B.A. Has the Hottest Stove. LeBron James Is the Flame.," 30 June 2018 But a screw-up that caused the landmark film to enter the public domain has provided some room for other authors to put their own spin on the undead hungering for human flesh. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "AMC's 'Fear the Walking Dead' Is Target of Copyright Lawsuit," 27 June 2018 Someone who sold himself as a common man but hungered to live — above his means, if necessary — like a high roller. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Uresti was a great story that turned tragic," 20 June 2018 Jeremy Strong and Kieran Culkin do good work as the sons who fight for power within Waystar Royco while hungering for their father’s approval, as does Sarah Snook as their sister, a political consultant who watches from the sidelines. Mike Hale, New York Times, "Review: In HBO’s ‘Succession,’ the Family That Preys Together," 1 June 2018 The works had only two things in common: Readers hungered for them, and each had been designated contraband by the Communist Party’s Central Leading Group for Propaganda and Ideology. Alex W. Palmer, New York Times, "The Case of Hong Kong’s Missing Booksellers," 3 Apr. 2018 Fujifilm chairman and CEO Shigetaka Komori has hungered to buy Xerox for decades. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Paper Jam! How Carl Icahn And a Billionaire Partner Blocked Xerox’s Merger with Fujifilm," 21 May 2018 Certain readers will hunger as well for sharper and more debatable insights about range management and the West. Nathan Deuel, latimes.com, "True grit in the modern American West: 'The Last Cowboys' by John Branch," 10 May 2018

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

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

History and Etymology for hunger

Noun and Verb

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hunger

Statistics for hunger

Last Updated

29 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hunger

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for hunger

hunger

noun

English Language Learners Definition of hunger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a very great need for food : a severe lack of food
: an uncomfortable feeling in your stomach that is caused by the need for food
: a strong desire : a strong desire for something or to do something

hunger

verb

English Language Learners Definition of hunger (Entry 2 of 2)

literary : to have or feel a strong desire

hunger

noun
hun·​ger | \ ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio) \

Kids Definition of hunger

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a desire or a need for food
2 : a strong desire a hunger for knowledge

hunger

verb
hungered; hungering

Kids Definition of hunger (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to feel a desire or need for food
2 : to have a strong desire He hungered to return home.

hunger

noun
hun·​ger | \ ˈhəŋ-gər How to pronounce hunger (audio) \

Medical Definition of hunger

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on hunger

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hunger

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hunger

Spanish Central: Translation of hunger

Nglish: Translation of hunger for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hunger for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about hunger

Comments on hunger

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to make a payment or contribution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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