\ ˈstärv How to pronounce starve (audio) \
starved; starving

Definition of starve

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

1a : 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Without algae, corals turn white and begin to starve. Lela Nargi, Washington Post, 16 Aug. 2022 The critics argue that buybacks are driven by greedy executives and starve firms of capital for investment. Jesse M. Fried And Charles C.y. Wang, WSJ, 9 Aug. 2022 Worse, this particular Monte Carlo simulation shows two out of 500 trajectories in which Sam loses everything — with plenty of years left to starve. Laurence Kotlikoff, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 Scientists say people can starve within three days. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2022 But high nutrients and warm waters can exacerbate the growth of those organisms and create what’s known as harmful algal blooms, which are becoming more common across California as temperatures rise and water systems starve, The Chronicle reported. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Aug. 2022 International trade would break down, and people would begin to starve. Michael Holtz, The New Yorker, 22 July 2022 Eventually, the root will starve and die from lack of photosynthesis. oregonlive, 7 Aug. 2022 For the past year, the plight of manatees has been high on the commission’s agenda, as loss of seagrass to pollution caused a record number to starve to death. David Fleshler, Sun Sentinel, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'starve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of starve

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

History and Etymology for starve

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

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Time Traveler for starve

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near starve

star vault


starved brood

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Statistics for starve

Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Starve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for starve


\ ˈstärv How to pronounce starve (audio) \
starved; starving

Kids Definition of starve

1 : to suffer or die or cause to suffer or die from lack of food
2 : to suffer or cause to suffer from a lack of something other than food The dog was starving for affection.


\ ˈstärv How to pronounce starve (audio) \
starved; starving

Medical Definition of starve

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

Nglish: Translation of starve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of starve for Arabic Speakers


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