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When you eat something very hungrily, you can use the adverb "ravenously" to describe it. But when you drink something very fast in a similar way to quench your thirst, what adverb can you use to describe it?

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I suppose you could use parchedly , but I'm not going to. And your title indicates an adjective. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 at 16:49
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This is a great question! Some food for thought: If a common word doesn't come to mind readily, an obscure word, no matter how precisely it matches your meaning, will probably fail to resonate with your audience. In a case like this, I would try to paint the scene so viscerally the reader has to put the book down and get a glass of water before continuing. (I realize this is a writing and style comment, not language and usage, but I thought it relevant :) –  Brien Malone Mar 26 at 20:55
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By the way, "ravenously" is hideous. I would never use "ate ravenously," it sounds like you're someone who learned to write English on some internet site for English. –  Joe Blow Mar 27 at 8:21
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What's wrong with thirstily? –  Jodrell Mar 28 at 8:57
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Remember that ravenous actually means rapacious: tearing at something as a raptor or a rapist might, to violate it violently. There is a sense of crude desperation. Just as we have no analogue for “starved to death” for thirst, here you’ll find no exact word the trades hunger for thirst. So you’ll have to connote the desperate abandon with which the dangerously thirsty chug down water once finally available to them using some other aspect of that frenzied guzzling. –  tchrist Mar 29 at 19:12

19 Answers 19

up vote 42 down vote accepted

I don't think there's a perfect word for this, but here are some suggestions:

insatiably

  • This does not, of course, refer specifically to thirst, or to the action, but it does mean "incapable of being satisfied", which covers the motivation and thereby suggests the action.

voraciously

  • "having a huge appetite". Of course appetite typically relates to food, but one can have an appetite for anything: consider "a voracious reader". Interestingly, MW has this to say about the origin:

Latin vorac-, vorax, from vorare to devour; akin to Old English ācweorran to guzzle, Latin gurges whirlpool, Greek bibrōskein to devour

Of course "guzzle" specifically refers to drinking.

unquenchably

  • "quenchable" = to relieve or satisfy with liquid, so unquenchably would be with the inability to be relieved or satisfied with liquid.

greedily

  • which can apply equally to food or drink: "having a strong desire for food or drink".

"drank greedily" has a number of hits on Google books - and is at least once paired with eating ravenously:

Inside he found the food and water his body craved; he ate ravenously and drank greedily.

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+1 for unquenchably –  Lohoris Mar 27 at 23:02
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As someone familiar with Latin, voraciously strikes me as just incorrect when applied to drinking rather than eating. While it may be "akin to" words in other languages that have to do with drinking, it itself comes from vorare which definitely doesn't. –  KRyan Mar 28 at 18:19
    
I'd add to that gushingly. To flow forth suddenly in great volume: water gushing from a hydrant. –  Christopher Done Mar 30 at 12:35

Agree with "parchedly," but that's a pretty sorry word! You may be better off using a different verb than "to drink": gulp or guzzle, or, taking considerable poetic license with the meaning of the words, gasp or croak ("he gasped / croaked down a liter of water"). Another alternative is to use an adverb not specifically meaning "thirstily" but implying intensity or earnestness ("he desperately / furiously drank...").

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I was thinking of looking for a synonym of "desperately" myself, actually. –  Joe Z. Mar 26 at 17:04
    
This is a good answer to perhaps what the question should have been. –  Edwin Ashworth Mar 26 at 17:53
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"Desperately" was my best attempt as well. –  starsplusplus Mar 26 at 19:01
    
+1 for gasp - maybe it's more of a British thing...I don't know... –  user3306356 Mar 27 at 9:04
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whats wrong with thirstily merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thirstily –  Jodrell Mar 28 at 8:58

gulpingly might fit

gulpingly: (adverb) in a gulping manner

gulp: (transitive verb) often foll by down to swallow rapidly, esp in large mouthfuls

I see the usage of "guzzlingly" also but there is no dictionary entry. It might be a neologism.

guzzle: To drink greedily or habitually: guzzle beer.

Other than that, you can always use "greedily" which is more common.

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Also, I'd risk gurgulingly. –  Christopher Done Mar 30 at 12:31

Thirstily, the adverb for thirsty.

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Isn't thirstily equivalent of hungrily? I'm not sure if it is much more severe. –  ermanen Mar 26 at 18:43
    
"Thirstily" is in the same ballpark, but I was looking for a more emphatic word. –  Joe Z. Mar 28 at 15:47

Parched is the best I have.

In tone it seems a bit more understated than ravenous, but I'm not aware of any others more severe.

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"Parched" describes the degree of thirst being quenched, whereas "ravenously" describes the manner of eating. But I can't think of anything better, either! –  David Richerby Mar 26 at 17:31
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Parched is an excellent answer but it is not an adverb unfortunately. And in my opinion, it does not make much sense if you say "drink parchedly". –  ermanen Mar 26 at 18:26
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I could concur. I would strongly advise sentence rewrite to avoid the abomination 'parchedly'. –  Lighthart Mar 26 at 19:00

Taking a note from John's answer: you'd probably want to use a combination of intense adjectives & adverbs. My suggestion would be something like "he desperately quaffed".

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"Quaffed" makes me think of waffles and whiffle balls. –  Joe Z. Mar 26 at 21:27
    
"Quaffed" makes me think of quickly drinking some sort of elixir or tonic, or maybe an alcoholic drink. I'm not sure it fits here with a larger quantity of liquid. –  Erick Robertson Mar 29 at 11:18

To describe that way of drinking you can also use the word "ravenously".

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I'd go with that as well if there's nothing better, but I would have preferred something that carried less connotation of foody hunger, which is why I asked. –  Joe Z. Mar 26 at 16:54
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In that case "greedily" is also an option, but "ravenously" sounds better to me. –  user3461216 Mar 26 at 17:00

How about avidly (referring to the drinker's thirst) or copiously (referring to the volume drunk)?

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+1 I can read those without feeling the author is trying too hard. –  joeytwiddle Mar 30 at 0:02

Greedily (or insatiably) might be indeed be good answers. Often, "ravenously" describes how someone eats as much as from what cause the manner of their eating proceeds. Thus, to fill in the gap:

He drank the water ....

analogously to:

He ate the food ravenously.

you could use compulsively, wildly, with abandon, immoderately, urgently or obsessively.

If you want (something like) a Tom Swifty, you could use "distraughtly". :)

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There is no direct counterpart that is in typical usage. Use any word that suggests desperation or urgency, if you must use an adverb. Describing the way the person drank visually would probably be far more descriptive, however. For example: "The traveler sank to her knees, grabbed the jug with both hands, drank the entire contents in one messy draft."

Actually, I would like to add that ravenous is not necessarily a term just for hunger; a ravenous thirst is a perfectly acceptable phrase. Ravenously also means greedily or in a predatory manner; it is literally derived from the word raven (like the bird). Thanks OED.

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The etymology of ravenous according to the OED: Originally: (of an animal) given to seizing other animals as prey; predatory; ferocious. Later: (of an animal or person; also of the appetite, hunger, etc.) voracious, gluttonous. Also fig. and in extended use.

A synonym would be 'voraciously'. So in order to answer this question one has to think of an animal which drinks voraciously. Could that be a camel, or a dog, let's say. And how does a dog drink? It 'laps' the water.

So the verb must surely be 'he lapped the liquid down him'. As for an adverb, it would have to be: 'He drank lappedly'

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That’s not true about the origin of ravenous: what you have stated is a mere folk etymology for which I can discover no evidence. The (surface?) evidence is that ravenous is not related to raven at all: think raptor not raven here. The common word raven for the bird Corvus corax comes from OE hræfn. Ravenous in contrast derives from medieval French ravine or medieval Latin rapine, both ultimately from Latin rapere meaning to seize and whence we also derive our own word rape. Whether there is a PIE link between these, however, I’ve no idea; I suppose it’s possible. –  tchrist Mar 29 at 18:59
    
Looking further back, apparently there was a Proto-Germanic *khrabanas for raven, cognate with corvus, corax, κοραξ, and almost surely unrelated to rapere/rapio where we get our own ravenous and rapacious (amongst many others). –  tchrist Mar 29 at 19:29
    
@tchrist. This is what the OED says. It was only my presumption that it was a raven. Etymology: < ravin n.1 + -ous suffix. Compare Old French ravineux, ravinos, rabinos rapid, impetuous (late 12th cent.). (a) Originally: (of an animal) given to seizing other animals as prey; predatory; ferocious. Later: (of an animal or person; also of the appetite, hunger, etc.) voracious, gluttonous. Also fig. and in extended use. –  WS2 Mar 29 at 20:10

You could also get creative with watery words and make some adjectives up, if you're into that sort of thing:

  • they drank gushingly (from gushing)
  • she drank oceanically (from oceanic)
  • he drank flowingly (from flowing)
  • she drank floodingly (from flooding)
  • she drank tidingly (from tiding)
  • he drank lakedly (from lake)
  • they drank shoringly (from shore)
  • I drank splashingly (from splash)
  • we drank hydrantly (from hydrant)
  • she drank drowningly (from drowning)

Some of them are groan-worthy, but I like a couple.

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How about some derivative of drench? Since parched speaks of the absence of fluid, and ravenous more of the actual present consumption of food, I would think drenched (or drenchedly/drenchally if there exist such words) would be better...as it speaks more of the present consumption of and saturation with fluid.

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I think that the correct word is definitely: Dehydratedly.

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Definitely that, or thirstquenchingly. –  joeytwiddle Mar 30 at 0:09

For more general terms that applies to both eating and drinking you could try gluttonously or hedonistically depending on the connotation.

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Not an adjective, but to slake your thirst generally means you have been very thirsty and dehydrated

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drouthy (scot, thirsty or dry)
dehydrated
parched

I would be more inclined to suggest parched as a solution, though I would personally use drouthy.

Dehydrated serves the same purpose but I'd use it to narrate more specifically.

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I concur with the many answers that choosing a different verb is better-suited in this case to convey the desired nuances. I particularly like "to quaff," which I picture as a very hasty (and messy) kind of drinking, imho fitting of the desired adverb "ravenously".

Depending on the mood of the drinker, I would go with "he quaffed recklessly/madly/aggressively" or "he quaffed heartily/vigorously"

Ps. This is more of a comment to @DanTheGameMan's answer, but alas, I don't have enough reputation for this yet.

Pps. As a non-native English speaker, I was introduced to the word by reading Terry Pratchett, where it appeared in the context of dwarfish drinking behaviour (if memory serves).

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Perhaps "guzzled". Or a metaphor.

He drank like a particularly parched fish who'd just been on a camel ride with the hotel holiday resort and hadn't brought any change, where the only available water was for sale by grinning tour guides.

or

He wearily examined the (beverage, water?) to check it wasn't a mirage, and once certain, with a wave of relief guzzled it down barely taking the time to breathe. Occasionally he spluttered for air, like a surfacing whale, and then returned to desperately trying to take in his own body weight in liquid.

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