Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To suffer or die from extreme or prolonged lack of food.
  • intransitive verb Informal To be hungry.
  • intransitive verb To suffer from deprivation.
  • intransitive verb Archaic To suffer or die from cold.
  • intransitive verb To cause to starve.
  • intransitive verb To force to a specified state by starving.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To die; perish.
  • Specifically To perish from lack of food or nourishment; die of hunger; also, to suffer from lack of food; pine with hunger; famish; suffer extreme poverty.
  • To perish with cold; die from cold or exposure; suffer from cold.
  • To suffer for lack of anything that is needed or much desired; suffer mental or spiritual want; pine.
  • To cause to perish with hunger; afflict or distress with hunger; famish; hence, to kill, subdue, or bring to terms by withholding food or by the cutting off of supplies: as, to starve a garrison into surrender.
  • To cause to perish with cold; distress or affect severely with cold; benumb utterly; chill.
  • To cause to perish through lack of any kind; deprive of life, vigor, or force through want; exhaust; stunt.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb Obs., except in the sense of perishing with cold or hunger. To die; to perish.
  • intransitive verb To perish with hunger; to suffer extreme hunger or want; to be very indigent.
  • intransitive verb To perish or die with cold.
  • transitive verb engraving To destroy with cold.
  • transitive verb To kill with hunger.
  • transitive verb To distress or subdue by famine.
  • transitive verb To destroy by want of any kind.
  • transitive verb To deprive of force or vigor; to disable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive, obsolete To die; in later use especially to die slowly, waste away.
  • verb intransitive To die because of lack of food or of not eating.
  • verb intransitive To be very hungry.
  • verb transitive To destroy, make capitulate or at least make suffer by deprivation, notably of food
  • verb transitive To deprive of nourishment.
  • verb transitive, UK, especially Yorkshire and Lancashire To kill with cold.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb have a craving, appetite, or great desire for
  • verb be hungry; go without food
  • verb die of food deprivation
  • verb deprive of food
  • verb deprive of a necessity and cause suffering

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English sterven, to die, from Old English steorfan; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English sterven, from Old English steorfan. Cognate with Low German staarven, Dutch sterven, German sterben, Albanian shterp ("sterile, unproductive, barren land").

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