Hunger/Starvation and Famine?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by eddiemel7778, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. eddiemel7778 Senior Member

    São Paulo
    Pretty please! What's the difference between them? In Portuguese "hunger, starvation and famine" have the same translation (fome).

    Can I say: They have died of "hunger, starvation and famine".?

    Thanks heaps.
  2. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I could be hungry after a short period without food - a few hours :)

    It would take a great deal longer without food before I would be starving - many days.

    Famine is about the general shortage of food, not about the condition of the people. If there is a famine, people become hungry, and in the end they die of starvation or of disease caused by the lack of food - the famine.
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    These are not dictionary definitions. These are personal interpretations of the words:

    "hunger" is a strong urge to eat caused by a lack of food. You can feel hunger simply by missing one meal. It can also be used to describe a general condition: "During the Irish potato famine, the Irish suffered many years of hunger." It means that they often went hungry; that is to say, they often went without food for one or more meals.

    "starvation" is a prolonged lack of all food for days or weeks. "She starved herself to death" would mean that the woman deliberately forsook all food until she died from lack of nourishment. "She died of hunger" would not sound right.

    "Famine" is a widespread lack of food usually caused by weather conditions or crop failure of some kind due to blight or infestation. A famine results in most people in the area being hungry and often many of the people starve to death. People die because of a famine, but we don't say they die "of famine", just as we don't say they die "of earthquake" or "of tornado."

    So, to put all the words in one sentence, I would say: "The famine brought widespread hunger to area and resulted in the death of thousands by starvation."
  4. kayokid

    kayokid Senior Member/Moderator

    English, USA
    This is by no means an exact definition of the following terms. Just off the top of my head I would say: Starvation is an extreme form of Hunger. "People who live below the poverty level suffer from hunger even in the USA." They don't have enough money to buy food on a regular basis or eat three meals every day. Starvation is when people become sick and/or in danger of dying because they don't have anything to eat. Famine is an agricultural state which exists when crops die because of a lack of rain (water) which is needed to grow. Hope this helps.
  5. eddiemel7778 Senior Member

    São Paulo
    You guys can't imagine how thankful I am to you all. All of you have really helped me. Thanks so much for your help.

  6. thiagolb

    thiagolb Senior Member

    Natal - RN - Brazil
    Brazil, Portuguese
    If I'm talking about a poor population that doesn't have enough money to feed themselves properly, can I use the word "famine"? Note that in this case there are not weather conditions. They don't even have enough land to cultivate.

    Is that word ("famine") used in the press?
  7. Pantalaimon

    Pantalaimon Member

    UK English.
    No, that is poverty. 'Famine' is when there is simply no food available, whether or not you have money to pay for it.
  8. No, famine tends to refers to agricultural disaster, and it tends to encompass everybody (apart perhaps from the very rich). It doesn't have to be caused by weather/natural disasters, though: the Ukrainian famine in the 30's was politically instigated and it's still a famine.

    The lack of food suffered by the poor would be probably referred to as malnutrition: The urban poor in this city suffer from severe malnutrition. Some are in danger of starvation.

    However, malnutrition can also refer to lack of quality, not just lack of quantity.

    Starvation can be applied much more universally than famine.
    20% anorexics die of starvation.
    A person with no money for food is in danger of starvation.
    An explorer in the Arctic wilderness who lost his weapon can also suffer from starvation.

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