What does hunger mean?

Definitions for hunger
ˈhʌŋ gərhun·ger

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word hunger.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. hunger, hungrinessnoun

    a physiological need for food; the consequence of food deprivation

  2. hunger, hungriness, thirst, thirstinessverb

    strong desire for something (not food or drink)

    "a thirst for knowledge"; "hunger for affection"

  3. hungerverb

    feel the need to eat

  4. crave, hunger, thirst, starve, lustverb

    have a craving, appetite, or great desire for

  5. starve, hunger, famishverb

    be hungry; go without food

    "Let's eat--I'm starving!"

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. HUNGERnoun

    Etymology: hunger, Saxon; honger, Dutch.

    An uneasy sensation at the stomach for food. When the stomach is empty, and the fibres in their natural tension, they draw up so close as to rub against each other, so as to make that sensation: but when they are distended with food, it is again removed; unless when a person fasteth so long as for want of spirits, or nervous fluid, to have those fibres grow too flaccid to corrugate, and then we say a person has fasted away his stomach; and this is occasioned by the attrition of the coats of the stomach against each other. John Quincy.

    Thou shalt serve thine enemies in hunger and in thirst. Deutr. xxviii. 48.

    The sub-acid part of the animal spirits, being cast off by the lower nerves upon the coats of the stomach, vellicates the fibres, and thereby produces the sense we call hunger. Nehemiah Grew.

    Something viscous, fat and oily, remaining in the stomach, destroys the sensation of hunger. John Arbuthnot, on Aliments.

    The immaterial felicities we expect, do naturally suggest the necessity of preparing our appetites and hungers for them, without which heaven can be no heaven to us. Decay of Piety.

  2. To Hungerverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Widely they gape, and to the eye they roar,
    As if they hunger’d for the food they bore. Abraham Cowley.

    Do’st thou so hunger for my empty chair,
    That thou wilt needs invest thee with my honours,
    Before thy hour be ripe? O, foolish youth,
    Thou seek’st the greatness that will overwhelm thee!
    Stay but a little. William Shakespeare, Henry IV. p. ii.

    My more having, would be as a sauce
    To make me hunger more. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    I content me,
    And from the sting of famine fear no harm,
    Nor mind it, fed with better thoughts that feed
    Me hung’ring more to do my father’s will. John Milton, P. Lost.


  1. Hunger

    In politics, humanitarian aid, and the social sciences, hunger is defined as a condition in which a person does not have the physical or financial capability to eat sufficient food to meet basic nutritional needs for a sustained period. In the field of hunger relief, the term hunger is used in a sense that goes beyond the common desire for food that all humans experience, also known as an appetite. The most extreme form of hunger, when malnutrition is widespread, and when people have started dying of starvation through lack of access to sufficient, nutritious food, leads to a declaration of famine. Throughout history, portions of the world's population have often suffered sustained periods of hunger. In many cases, hunger resulted from food supply disruptions caused by war, plagues, or adverse weather. In the decades following World War II, technological progress and enhanced political cooperation suggested it might be possible to substantially reduce the number of people suffering from hunger. While progress was uneven, by 2014, the threat of extreme hunger had receded for a large portion of the world's population. According to the FAO's 2021 The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger began to rise gradually between 2014 and 2019. In 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a massive increase, resulting in nearly 770 million people suffering from malnutrition.While most of the world's people continue to live in Asia, much of the increase in hunger since 2015 occurred in Africa and South America. The FAO's 2017 report discussed three principal reasons for the recent increase in hunger: climate, conflict, and economic slowdowns. The 2018 edition focused on extreme weather as a primary driver of the increase in hunger, finding rising rates to be especially severe in countries where agricultural systems were most sensitive to extreme weather variations. The 2019 SOFI report found a strong correlation between increases in hunger and countries that had suffered an economic slowdown. The 2020 edition instead looked at the prospects of achieving the hunger related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG). It warned that if nothing was done to counter the adverse trends of the past six years, the number of people suffering from chronic hunger could rise by over 150 million by 2030. The 2021 report reported a sharp jump in hunger caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many thousands of organizations are engaged in the field of hunger relief, operating at local, national, regional, or international levels. Some of these organizations are dedicated to hunger relief, while others may work in several different fields. The organizations range from multilateral institutions to national governments, to small local initiatives such as independent soup kitchens. Many participate in umbrella networks that connect thousands of different hunger relief organizations. At the global level, much of the world's hunger relief efforts are coordinated by the UN and geared towards achieving SDG 2 of Zero Hunger by 2030.


  1. hunger

    Hunger is a physical sensation or discomfort that is caused by the body's need for nutrients and food. It is the body's way of signaling that it needs to replenish its energy levels. This feeling often leads to a desire or craving to eat. In a broader context, hunger can also refer to a strong desire or need for something other than food, such as achievement, success, or love.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Hungernoun

    an uneasy sensation occasioned normally by the want of food; a craving or desire for food

  2. Hungernoun

    any strong eager desire

  3. Hungernoun

    to feel the craving or uneasiness occasioned by want of food; to be oppressed by hunger

  4. Hungernoun

    to have an eager desire; to long

  5. Hungerverb

    to make hungry; to famish

  6. Etymology: [OE. hungren, AS. hyngrian. See Hunger, n.]


  1. Hunger

    Hunger is the physical sensation of desiring food. When politicians, relief workers and social scientists talk about people suffering from hunger, they usually refer to those who are unable to eat sufficient food to meet their basic nutritional needs for sustained periods of time. Throughout history, a large proportion of the world's population have often experienced severe hunger. In many cases this resulted from disruptions to the food supply caused by war, plagues or adverse weather changes. For the first few decades after World War II, technological progress and enhanced political cooperation suggested it might be possible to substantially reduce the number of people suffering from hunger. While progress had been uneven, by 2000 the threat of extreme hunger has subsided for a great many of the world's people. Until 2006, the average international price of food had been largely stable for several decades. But in the closing months of 2006 it began to rise at a rapid rate. By 2008 the price of rice had more than tripled in some regions, which had an especially severe impact in developing countries. Food prices fell in early 2009, but then rose again to reach another record high in 2011, and have since then decreased slightly. The 2008 worldwide financial crisis further increased the number of people suffering from hunger, including dramatic increases even in advanced economies such as Great Britain, the Eurozone and the United States.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Hunger

    hung′gėr, n. desire for food: strong desire for anything.—v.i. to crave food: to long for.—adjs. Hung′er-bit′ten, bitten, pained, or weakened by hunger; Hung′erful, hungry; Hung′erly (Shak.), hungry.—adv. (Shak.) hungrily.—adv. Hung′rily.—adj. Hung′ry, having eager desire: greedy: lean: poor. [A.S. hungor (n.), hyngran (v.); cf. Ger. hunger, Dut. honger, &c.]

U.S. National Library of Medicine

  1. Hunger

    The desire for FOOD generated by a sensation arising from the lack of food in the STOMACH.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    Ability to eat in a Night Lunch Cart.

Suggested Resources

  1. hunger

    Song lyrics by hunger -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by hunger on the Lyrics.com website.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Hunger is ranked #22131 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Hunger surname appeared 1,168 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Hunger.

    92.6% or 1,082 total occurrences were White.
    3.1% or 37 total occurrences were Black.
    1.6% or 19 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1.5% or 18 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.6% or 7 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    0.4% or 5 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'hunger' in Nouns Frequency: #2818

How to pronounce hunger?

How to say hunger in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of hunger in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of hunger in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of hunger in a Sentence


    I hunger for nourishment, that’s why I keep on eating each day. I hunger for knowledge, that’s why I keep on studying while still young and able. I hunger for wisdom, that’s why I want to keep on learning.

  2. Chris Stang:

    Hunger is nonpartisan. We just want to feed people, we are certainly not trying to tell anyone how to vote -- we just want them to vote.

  3. Alexandra Johnstone:

    We know that appetite control is important to achieve weight loss, and our study suggests that those consuming the most calories in the morning felt less hungry, in contrast to when they consumed more calories in the evening period, while disputing the claims for' metabolic' advantages of early-in-the-day-calories, this paper does establish a plausible alternative : a potential weight loss advantage... via enhanced satiety and less hunger.

  4. Rosemary Tovar:

    I left because I was dying of hunger. We are trying to get ahead looking through this rubbish. Every night I pray to God to take me out of here.

  5. Terence Shigg:

    Let's be honest, narcotics use is on the rise and has been on the rise for years. The argument that America's hunger for drugs fuels the drug trade, and all that it entails, is partially true.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for hunger

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"hunger." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/hunger>.

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    cause to spread or flush or flood through, over, or across
    • A. caddie
    • B. aberrate
    • C. abet
    • D. suffuse

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