Do I say "quenched my thirst" or "stilled my thirst" when I speak of something that I desire and not actual thirst? E.g. a thirst for a new car or something.

  • 1
    Look around a bit on the web and the answer is easy to find. Then let us know what you found.
    – Kris
    Mar 3, 2013 at 12:37
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    I attended Wagner's Parsifal yesterday. Despite its five hour plus running time, my thirst for opera was not quenched.
    – GEdgar
    Mar 3, 2013 at 13:32
  • Yes - I feel thirst is a metaphor that sits with 'nobler desires' (opera) or the outlandish (blood) better than with more mundane desires (a new car). Mar 3, 2013 at 14:38
  • Although one's thirst for excitement might be sated for a bit with the acquisition of a new sports car.
    – Jim
    Mar 3, 2013 at 22:57
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    You might find our sister-site, English Language Learners, might be a better fit for these sorts of questions.
    – tchrist
    Mar 3, 2013 at 23:35

1 Answer 1


Thirsts are always quenched or slaked, never stilled or silenced, even if they are metaphorical.

In contrast, desires, like beating hearts, are never quenched or slaked, but may be killed or calmed or assuaged. And they may, perhaps, be stilled or quelled.

You are perhaps more apt to appease desires than thirsts.

  • I think one can certainly slake a desire. In fact, every online dictionary I checked includes the word "desire" when defining slake.
    – Marcus_33
    Mar 4, 2013 at 15:10

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