“Hungry” & “Full” English

“Hungry” & “Full” English

Now that you know the adjective hungry, which means feeling that you want to eat, and the adjective full, which means not wanting to eat anymore, it’s time to expand your vocabulary a bit more. Read on to learn synonyms for hungry and full, as well as idioms related to the two feelings.


When you are hungry, you want some food because you have not eaten for some time and have an uncomfortable or painful feeling in your stomach. If you are very hungry, you can say that you are starved (informal). Starving can mean the same thing, as well as being actually ill or dying because of a lack of food:

Conscience alone will not feed starving people and save innocent lives, or bring peace to troubled lands. (literal meaning)

Working here all night, you must be starving. (figurative meaning)

Famished can be used just like starving. The difference is that famished is usually used informally to mean very hungry, while the first meaning of starving is the literal one:

I missed breakfast and I am famished. (figurative meaning)

The archeologists found a famished skeleton. (literal meaning- the person must have suffered from starvation)

If you are extremely hungry, you are ravenous /ˈræv(ə)nəs/:

She realized that she had eaten nothing since leaving home, and she was ravenous.

I hope there are some nibbles (small savoury snacks, typically eaten before a meal or with drinks) because I’m ravenous.

If you are slightly hungry, you are peckish (informal):

I imagine after your flight you’re a bit peckish.

I hadn’t eaten and was quite peckish.


If you are full (or full up), you have eaten to your limits or satisfaction. More formally, you are replete /rɪˈpliːt/, or pleasantly full of food and drink. If you are stuffed (informal), you are full or even ill because you have eaten too much:

No more, thanks. I’m stuffed.

After all that food, I was stuffed.

Being hungry and not hungry are also used figuratively to talk about craving for something and being satisfied. This figurative language is very common in literature and not only:

People are hungry for unbiased news.

The boy is hungry for attention.

I left Oxford in 1961 hungry to be a critic.

To express the idea of being satisfied, you can use the adjective sated (literary):

It’s a creature that can’t be sated.

I was sated with opera after listening to it for a whole weekend. (I felt I had had enough of the opera)

“A hungry man is an angry one.” Buchi Emecheta, a Nigerian novelist


  • I can eat a horse! – I am ravenous/starved/starving/famished!
  • He eats like a horse but never gains weight. – He eats a lot.
  • He usually eats like a pig and I just hate to be around him when he does. – He eats large quantities of food and/or he eats sloppily.
  • I’m dropping dead of hunger! – I can eat a horse!
  • My stomach is growling (to growl /ɡraʊl/ is to make a deep low noise). – I am hungry.
  • My tummy’s rumbling. – My stomach is growling. (Related: “How to Describe Sounds“)
  • We got a lot of hungry mouths to feed. – We got a lot of people depending on us to provide food.
  • I am full to bursting! – I am stuffed!
  • He would binge /bɪndʒ/ on chocolate until he was sick. – He would eat a lot of it because he likes it very much.
  • Every Christmas David stuffs himself/stuffs his face. – He fills himself with too much food.
  • Eat to your heart’s content /kənˈtent/. – Eat as much as you want.
  • It’s not good to go to bed on a full stomach. – It’s not goof to go to bed having just eaten.
  • Don’t drink alcohol on an empty stomach. – Don’t drink alcohol without having eaten.

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