- extremely hungry: to be famished after a hike; famished, homeless multitudes.
verb (used with or without object) Archaic.
- to suffer or cause to suffer extreme hunger; starve.
- to starve to death.
- (now usually passive) to be or make very hungry or weak
- archaic to die or cause to die from starvation
- 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.