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- (obsolete, transitive) To starve (to death); to kill or destroy with hunger.
- c. 1588–1593, [William Shakespeare], The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: As It was Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex Their Seruants (the First Quarto), London: Printed by Iohn Danter, and are to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, at the little North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne, published 1594, OCLC 222241046, [Act II, scene iii]:
- Some ſay that Rauens foſter forlorne children, / The whilſt their owne birds famiſh in their neſts: / Oh be to me though thy hard hart ſay no, / Nothing ſo kinde but ſomething pittiful.
- 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: […], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970, partition I, section IV, member 1:
- Even so did Corellius Rufus, another grave senator, by the relation of Plinius Secundus, Epist. lib.1, epist.12, famish himself to death […]
- (transitive) To exhaust the strength or endurance of, by hunger; to distress with hunger.
- And when all the land of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread. -- Gen. xli. 55.
- The pains of famished Tantalus he'll feel. --Dryden.
- (transitive) To kill, or to cause to suffer extremity, by deprivation or denial of anything necessary.
- And famish him of breath, if not of bread. -- Milton.
- (transitive) To force or constrain by famine.
- He had famished Paris into a surrender. -- Burke.
- (intransitive) To die of hunger; to starve.
- (intransitive) To suffer extreme hunger or thirst, so as to be exhausted in strength, or to come near to perish.
- You are all resolved rather to die than to famish? -- Shakespeare
- (intransitive) To suffer extremity from deprivation of anything essential or necessary.
- The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish. -- Prov. x. 3.