famish
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˈfamɪʃ/
Verb

famish (famishes, present participle famishing; past and past participle famished)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To starve (to death); to kill or destroy with hunger.
    • c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: […] (First Quarto), London: Printed by Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, […], published 1594, OCLC 222241046 ↗, [Act II, scene iii] ↗:
      Some ſay that Rauens foſter forlorne children, / The whilſt their owne birds famiſh in their neſts: / Oh be to me though thy hard hart ſay no, / Nothing ſo kinde but ſomething pittiful.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 54573970 ↗, partition I, section IV, member 1:
      Even so did Corellius Rufus, another grave senator, by the relation of Plinius Secundus, Epist. lib.1, epist.12, famish himself to death {{...}
  2. (transitive) To exhaust#Verb|exhaust the strength or endurance of, by hunger; to distress#Verb|distress with hunger.
    • And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. -- Genesis 41:55.
    • The pains of famished Tantalus he'll feel. --Dryden.
  3. (transitive) To kill, or to cause to suffer extremity, by deprivation or denial of anything necessary.
    • And famish him of breath, if not of bread. -- Milton.
  4. (transitive) To force or constrain by famine.
    • He had famished Paris into a surrender. -- Burke.
  5. (intransitive) To die of hunger; to starve.
  6. (intransitive) To suffer extreme hunger or thirst, so as to be exhausted in strength, or to come near to perish.
    • You are all resolved rather to die than to famish? -- Shakespeare
  7. (intransitive) To suffer extremity from deprivation of anything essential or necessary.
    • The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish. -- Proverbs 10:3.



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