T Nation

Help a Non-Native English Speaker Find a Word

I am looking for an English word that may or may not exist.

My wife claims said word does not exist. But she originally hails from New Jersey, so her credibility as a native English speaker is limited.

Specifically, I am looking for the equivalent word for “starve”, except for water.

You can “starve to death”, so that’s dying from lack of food.

Heck, you can “choke”, “asphyxiate”, and “suffocate” to death, so English has at least three singular words that capture the idea of dying from lack of air.

Water, being the final leg of the three essentials (and perhaps more essential than food) seems to lack the singular word.

You do not “thirst to death”, do you? “Thirst” is more akin to “hunger”, which lacks the death part of the need for one of the three essentials.

Sure you can “die of thirst,” like you can “die of hunger”, but that’s not the one-word equivalent of “starve”.

It strikes me as a bizarre omission in the language.

(And no, I don’t want the Latin doctor terms my doctor wife also threw at me. That’s just over-educated New Jersey speak.)

Reverse drown

Giving it a legit shot, I’d go with dehydrate.



edit: jersey girls dont pump gas

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Famish ?

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This is a brand new thought to me.

Nearest word I can think of would be parched.

Exsiccate sounds good too but I had to use a thesaurus for that, entered synonyms of dehydrate.

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I’ve heard it as “die from thirst” and “dehydrate”

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It’s driving me a bit crazy.


“He languished”

You can “languish” from anything. And you are weak, not dead.

Definition of languish

intransitive verb

1a : to be or become feeble, weak, or enervated Plants languish in the drought.

b : to be or live in a state of depression or decreasing vitality languished in prison for ten years

2a : to become dispirited

b : to suffer neglect the bill languished in the Senate for eight months

3 : to assume an expression of grief or emotion appealing for sympathy languished at him through screwed-up eyes Edith Wharton

Definitely never heard this one before… I would think dehydrate too. He died of dehydration.

He starved to death
He dehydrated to death

Ya, I guess that’s kinda dumb…

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That’s the German way: “Er ist verdurstet”

Desiccation would be the closest single word that comes to mind, although I’ve never heard it used to describe dying from thirst. Death by desiccation has a nice ring to it though.


I was thinking about “exsiccate”

He exsiccated.

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I like it, but I don’t know how many people will understand it. If I didn’t look that word up I would have guessed that he took a really big dump.

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I’m leaning to that one.

Q: What happened to your dog?

A: He exsiccated.

It does have a more severe or sinister implication to it.

I’ve been dehydrated to varying degrees a thousand times, but never exsiccated.

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Or if someone did something really bad their punishment would be to be staked to the ground and exsiccated by the elements and eviscerated by buzzards.

First time I’ve heard of exsiccate as well. I like it though. Exsiccate/exsiccation.

Similar to/sounds like exsanguinate/exsanguination -a term which I think a lot more people are familiar with.

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The web has spoken…

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