famine

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n famine a severe shortage of food (as through crop failure) resulting in violent hunger and starvation and death
    • n famine an acute insufficiency
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, named in the Bible's Book of Revelation, are Conquest, Slaughter, Famine, and Death.
    • n Famine General scarcity of food; dearth; a want of provisions; destitution. "Worn with famine .""There was a famine in the land."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n famine Scarcity or destitution of food; a general want of provision or supply; extreme dearth, threatening or resulting in starvation: often used by extension with reference to the want or scarcity of material things other than food, and, figuratively, of immaterial things.
    • n famine Synonyms Dearth, etc. See scarcity.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Famine fam′in general scarcity of food: extreme scarcity of anything, as in 'famine prices,' &c.: hunger: starvation.
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Quotations

  • Douglas William Jerrold
    Douglas William Jerrold
    “He is one of those wise philanthropists who, in a time of famine, would vote for nothing, but a supply of toothpicks.”

Idioms

Feast today, famine tomorrow - If you indulge yourself with all that you have today, you may have to go without tomorrow.
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. famine, fr. L. fames, hunger; cf. Gr. want, need, Skr. hāni, loss, lack, , to leave
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr., through an unrecorded Low L. famina, from L. fames, hunger.

Usage

In literature:

Once upon a time there was a great famine in which even the hunters could find no flesh to eat.
"The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead, Volume I (of 3)" by Sir James George Frazer
In peace and plenty, and in war and famine, they were men.
"The Spinner's Book of Fiction" by Various
Famine became an immediate possibility.
"The True Story of Our National Calamity of Flood, Fire and Tornado" by Logan Marshall
Not to have eaten meat for a week was the sign of the direst famine in any district.
"German Culture Past and Present" by Ernest Belfort Bax
We have lately read a most affecting account of the famine in the northern provinces.
"The Home" by Fredrika Bremer
Blighted crops, famine, and pestilence had likewise a public as well as a private aspect.
"The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria" by Morris Jastrow
Famine was approaching with gigantic strides, and gloom and dejection overspread every countenance.
"The History of Tasmania , Volume II (of 2)" by John West
And Agabus tells of a great famine coming.
"Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation" by S. D. Gordon
And there was a famine in the land.
"A Book of Discovery" by Margaret Bertha (M. B.) Synge
All the same, the corn was not forthcoming, and the townsfolk suffered from famine.
"The Conquest of Bread" by Peter Kropotkin
They shall be followed by seven years of famine, so that all the plenty will be forgotten in the land of Egypt.
"The Children's Bible" by Henry A. Sherman
Pale Famine was in her streets, and her territory was threatened on all its borders.
"Romola" by George Eliot
Furthermore, India was cursed with drought, the crops failed, and the spectre of famine stalked through the land.
"The New World of Islam" by Lothrop Stoddard
Rain was much needed, for famine stared them in the face.
"Broken Bread from an Evangelist's Wallet" by Thomas Champness
Untaught by the bitter experience of famine, they again gave themselves up to luxury and waste.
"Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds" by Charles Mackay
The results were hideous when the famine came.
"The Story of Rouen" by Sir Theodore Andrea Cook
In the famine year nearly 400,000 acres were irrigated.
"The Panjab, North-West Frontier Province, and Kashmir" by Sir James McCrone Douie
It is the famine-stricken people.
"The Cycle of Spring" by Rabindranath Tagore
They were at length, weakened by sickness and exhausted by famine, compelled to surrender.
"Henry IV, Makers of History" by John S. C. Abbott
FAMINE in Achil, 253; "Please God we'll have a Famine," 255.
"Ireland as It Is" by Robert John Buckley (AKA R.J.B.)
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In poetry:

Once more, I'll be troubled by an
Old unexpiated shame,
And the icy firewood famine
Will press on the window-pane.
"There'll be no one in the house..." by Boris Pasternak
THE land was pale with famine
And racked with fever-pain;
The frozen fiords were fishless,
The earth withheld her grain.
"The Dole Of Jarl Thorkell" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Although he no relentings felt
Till he had spent his store;
His stubborn heart began to melt
When famine pinched him sore.
"The Prodigal Son" by John Newton
"Here the dying wail of Famine,
There the battle's groan of pain;
And, in silence, smooth-faced Mammon
Reaping men like grain.
"What The Voice Said" by John Greenleaf Whittier
For thee she toils, unchiding, mild,
And for thy children wan,
Beaten and starved, with famine wild,
To feast thee, monster man:
"Cruelty" by Martin Farquhar Tupper
God is their fear, and God their trust;
When plagues or famine spread,
His watchful eye secures the just
Among ten thousand dead.
"Psalm XXXIII: Rejoice, Ye Righteous" by Isaac Watts

In news:

Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine .
Fall fishing can be feast or famine .
Quinnipiac's Irish Famine Museum Opens.
While he grew up in New York, John Lahey recalls, the Irish famine was almost a taboo topic.
Drought, famine , now flooding hits in fragile Niger.
Economist says yield famine's end still far away.
Somali-Born K'naan Sees Famine's Effects Firsthand .
However, instead of simply fantasizing about a spread in Artforum, there are other important matters out there: war, famine, genocide, and the rise of Asia.
A once-in-a-generation famine is threatening millions of lives in West Africa, including hundreds of thousands of children in Niger.
Local woman helps famine victims in Kenya .
But famine could threaten progress, writes guest blogger Laura Heaton.
Drought, famine, now flooding hits in fragile Niger .
Eight West African countries are currently suffering from drought and famine.
Amidst Drought and Famine, Niger Leads West Africa in Addressing Crisis.
Looking for Famine in Niger and Finding Seeds of Progress.
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In science:

With the father absent from their small family, he and his mother fled famine and went around 1936-7 to relatives in Leningrad, where they, of course, found more difficult times after the outbreak of war in Europe.
Classical Chaos and its Quantum Manifestations
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