- Starve is defined as to die or suffer from hunger, or to have an intense want for something.
- An example of starve is someone being trapped and not being able to eat for five days.
- An example of starve is a child acting up because they're lacking in attention.
intransitive verbstarved, starving
- to die from lack of food
- to suffer or become weak from hunger
- Informal to be ravenously hungry
- to suffer great need: with for: starving for affection
- Now Dial. to suffer and die slowly from any cause, esp. from extreme cold
Origin of starveMiddle English sterven ; from Old English steorfan, to die, perish, akin to German sterben: see start
- to cause to starve by depriving of food
- to force by starvation: to starve an enemy into submission
- to cause to suffer from a lack or need of something specified
- Now Dial. to cause to die from extreme cold
verbstarved starved, starv·ing, starves
- To suffer or die from extreme or prolonged lack of food.
- Informal To be hungry.
- To suffer from deprivation: a puppy starving for attention.
- Archaic To suffer or die from cold.
- To cause to starve.
- To force to a specified state by starving: starved the town into submission.
Origin of starveMiddle English sterven, to die, from Old English steorfan; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present starves, present participle starving, simple past starved, starf, or storve (obsolete), past participle starved or rarely storven)
- (intransitive) To die because of lack of food or of not eating.
- (intransitive) To be very hungry.
- Hey, ma, I'm starving!
- To destroy, make capitulate or at least make suffer by deprivation, notably of food
- To deprive of nourishment.
- They starved the child until it withered away.
- (UK, especially Yorkshire and Lancashire) To kill with cold.
- I was half starved waiting out in that wind.
From Middle English sterven, from Old English steorfan (“to die”), from Proto-Germanic *sterbaną (“to become stiff, die”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)terp- (“to lose strength, become numb, be motionless”); or from Proto-Indo-European *sterbʰ- (“to become stiff”), from Proto-Indo-European *ster- (“stiff”); or a conflation of the aforementioned. Cognate with Scots sterve (“to die, perish”), Saterland Frisian stjerwa (“to die”), West Frisian stjerre (“to die”), Dutch sterven (“to die”), Low German staarven (“to die”), starven, German sterben (“to die”), Icelandic stirfinn (“peevish, froward”), Albanian shterp (“sterile, unproductive, barren land”).