verb (used with or without object) Archaic.

  1. to suffer or cause to suffer extreme hunger; starve.
  2. to starve to death.


  1. (now usually passive) to be or make very hungry or weak
  2. archaic to die or cause to die from starvation
  3. Irish to make very coldI was famished with the cold

c.1400, famyschen, alteration of famen (late 14c.), a shortening of Old French afamer, from Vulgar Latin *affamare “to bring to hunger,” from ad famem, from Latin fames “hunger” (see famine).

Ending changed mid-14c. to -ish under influence of ravish, anguish, etc. The intransitive sense is from 1520s. Related: Famished; famishing.

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