295. Honger

1. appetite, hunger [noun] [de honger, <no plural>] [‘ho-ngur’]

When Dutch people want to express that they are hungry, they do not say they they "are hungry", but that they "have hunger". It is not incorrect to say "ik ben hongerig" instead of "ik heb honger" but it it would be very strange :-).


– "Ik heb honger, ik ga een boterham eten."
("I’m hungry, I’m going to eat a sandwich.")

– "Mamma, ik heb honger!" – "Nee, jij hebt geen honger, jij hebt trek. De kindertjes in Afrika hebben honger!"
("Mommy, I am hungry!" – "No, you are not hungry, you have an appetite/you feel peckish. The children in Africa are hungry!" The Dutch version is a classical statement made by parents to counter the whining of their child. Note the diminutive of "kinderen": these are even smaller children 🙂 ).

– "Honger hebben als een paard": to be hungry like a wolf. Literally: to have hunger like a horse.

Related words:
– "Trek": appetite.
– "Dorst": thirst.

2. lust, greed [noun] [de honger, <no plural>] [‘ho-ngur’]

We do have a specific word for lust and greed, see the Related words, but sometimes "honger" can be translated in the same way.

– "De sultan had een onverzadigbare honger naar materiële zaken."
("The sultan had an insatiable lust for material things.")

Related words:
– "Lust": lust.
– "Hebzucht": greed.
– "Hunkering": yearning.

3. famine, hunger, starvation [noun] [de honger, <no plural>] [‘ho-ngur’]


– "Het kan toch niet zo zijn dat vandaag de dag nog mensen sterven van de honger!"
("It can’t possibly be the case that these days people are still dying of starvation!" The expression "vandaag de dag" is an expression for "current times/today/these days", as opposed to a certain period of time in the past.)

Related word:
– "Hongersnood": famine. (Lit.: hunger emergency)