starve

verb

starved; starving

intransitive verb

1
a
: to perish from lack of food
b
: to suffer extreme hunger
2
a
archaic : to die of cold
b
British : to suffer greatly from cold
3
: to suffer or perish from deprivation
starved for affection

transitive verb

1
a
: to kill with hunger
b
: to deprive of nourishment
c
: to cause to capitulate by or as if by depriving of nourishment
2
: to destroy by or cause to suffer from deprivation
3
archaic : to kill with cold

Examples of starve in a Sentence

Without food they would starve. They left him to starve out in the desert. providing food for starving children They tried to starve their enemies into submission. It was clear that the dog had been starved. You don't have to starve yourself to lose weight.
Recent Examples on the Web Then came a reckoning. Dec. 5, 2023 What home schooling hides: A boy tortured and starved by his stepmom Dec. 2, 2023 Their sons’ lives ended in gunfire. Amber Ferguson, Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2024 He’s fallen for the myth that Israel wants Palestinians to starve. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 6 Apr. 2024 His kitchen has been in Gaza since March, with the intent to bring food aid to starving people in northern Gaza via a maritime corridor from Cyprus. Sunny Nagpaul, Fortune, 5 Apr. 2024 Perpetrators beat victims and take food, even baby formula, leaving people battered and starving in the forest. Julie Turkewitz Federico Rios, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 She’s accused of starving him to death March 13, 2024 2:46 PM This story was originally published March 28, 2024, 11:41 AM. Paloma Chavez, Sacramento Bee, 28 Mar. 2024 President Joe Biden is sounding tougher toward Israel these days and showing more compassion for people starving in the Gaza Strip. Nicholas Kristof, The Mercury News, 20 Mar. 2024 Nearly 5 million Haitians are starving, and 1.6. million people face emergency levels of acute hunger, which increases the risk of child wasting and malnutrition. Jacqueline Charles, Miami Herald, 31 Mar. 2024 Salmon depletion from overfishing and habitat destruction has starved them, and only about 75 are left now. Lila Seidman, Los Angeles Times, 29 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'starve.' 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

Middle English sterven to die, starve, from Old English steorfan to die; akin to Old High German sterban to die, and probably to Lithuanian starinti to stiffen — more at stare

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of starve was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near starve

Cite this Entry

“Starve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/starve. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

starve

verb
starved; starving
1
: to suffer or die or cause to suffer or die from lack of food
2
: to suffer or die or cause to suffer or die from a lack of something other than food
a child starving for affection
Etymology

Old English steorfan "to die (from any cause)"

Medical Definition

starve

verb
starved; starving

intransitive verb

1
: to perish from lack of food
2
: to suffer extreme hunger

transitive verb

1
: to kill with hunger
2
: to deprive of nourishment

More from Merriam-Webster on starve

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