What is the equivalent of "quench" when speaking of hunger? Is it appropriate to say you quenched your hunger?

  • 8
    Dunno, but I find it interesting that quench my thirst and slake my thirst get about 25K hits each in Google Books. But "quench your thirst" gets 27K hits, whereas "slake your thirst" gets only 5K. I suspect this is telling us writers use slake, but advertising copy writers prefer quench. Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 23:13
  • 7
    What do I do with my hunger? I bury it under a double chili cheeseburger.
    – Gnawme
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 1:18
  • I might use "still", as in "still your hunger", but this could be a mistranslated from Dutch ("je honger stillen"). Google does come up with some hits like this, but a quick look also seems to imply some of these are indeed posted by Dutch people, suggesting they're falling for the same trick as me :) . Anyway, not really sure, so left as a comment for knowledgable people to ponder upon.
    – Nanne
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 12:17
  • "Feed your hunger" was the first thing that popped into my mind.
    – JD Isaacks
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 15:29
  • 2
    @JohnIsaacks "Feed your hunger" doesn't necessarily imply that the hunger is gone when you have finished, does it? This sentence is an example of what I'm thinking: "The puny hors d'oeuvres served at the event only served to feed his hunger, forcing him to stop at 'Steak and Shake' on the way home."
    – Zoot
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 16:15

9 Answers 9


Sate, "To satisfy; fill up" is the usual term.

In etymology, quench and sate are somewhat parallel: quench derives via an Old English word from a Proto-Germanic word, while sate derives via a Middle English word from an Old English word from a West Germanic word.

Note, sate came into use half-a-century before satiate, the latter directly from Latin satiatus, pp. of satiare, "fill full, satisfy", and the former from M.E. saden ("become satiated") as an alteration under the influence of L. satiare.

  • 16
    Although sate collocates strongly with hunger, its use is rare. Satisfy is much more common. In the COCA, sate occurs near hunger 11 times, but satisfy occurs near hunger 98 times. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 0:26
  • 5
    @Brett, after I wrote "usual term" it occurred to me it might not be statistically usual; but on an etymological basis, quench and sate from Old English go together better than quench from O.E. and satisfy from French. Which the OP should choose depends on his or her meaning of phrase "the equivalent" in question. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 0:41
  • jwpat7, I meant equivalent in the sense that you just presented, though I can see that satisfy is more commonly used. Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 0:48
  • 7
    I've heard satiate used in this context, more than any other word.
    – Polynomial
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 9:33
  • I agree with @Polynomial although sate seems valid too.
    – James P.
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 6:37

I'd go with satisfy.          

  • 1
    Would you say "satisfy" is better suited to hunger than it is to thirst? Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 23:19
  • No, just the best/most natural alternative I could think of by the time of the answer.
    – drakorg
    Commented Feb 16, 2012 at 23:48
  • 1
    Satisfy makes sense to me; the stomach growling is like an angry animal that you must calm down ;)
    – Izkata
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 16:16

The formal answer is that you satiate a hunger, and you quench a thirst - as @jwpat7. The problem is that both of these words are used for other drives or needs, and they have differing meanings for the form of resolving the drive.

Quench tends to mean pour water on, not necessarily to satisfy the need, as much as to cool it - of course, when it comes to thirst, the water or liquid will satisfy it too. The image I always have is of being in a waterfall, where you can drink as much as you want, and there is still plenty, but you are going to get very wet.

Satiate can be used for a more "animal" satisfaction, where the person takes what they need, and then stops. It is far more agressive, far more a lion finding its prey, killing it, and when satiated, leaving the remnants for other beasts.

So while they are parallels, they also convey different senses.


You could stanch or stay your hunger: take the edge off it with a relatively small meal (or a large one, used ironically): or fulfil, repair or other generalised words implying filling in a lack. ("a hunger that it took forty minutes solid work to repair", Jerome K Jerome, Three Men on the Bummel.)


Well, a "quench my desire" line from Michael Jackson's Give in to Me comes to mind, suggesting that quench may be used with a wide spectrum of "cravings".


There's one answer I haven't seen here and that's to quell hunger. There is also to appease hunger but that isn't quite the same meaning.


I've always said satiate. The root of satiate is sat which, in Latin, means enough. It is derived from the Latin word Satiare, which is derived from Satis, which, in turn, means enough. Other words with the root sat are satisfy or saturate.

Thirst is to quench as hunger is to satiate.


Assuage can be, and often has been, very effectively used with hunger.

to make milder or less severe; alleviate; ease; mitigate:

to assuage one's grief;
to assuage one's pain.

to appease; satisfy; sate:

to assuage one's hunger.

to soothe, calm, or mollify:

to assuage his fears;
to assuage her anger.



I'd go with "stave off hunger".

From idioms.thefreedictionary.com:

stave something off

to delay or postpone something unwanted, such as hunger, foreclosure, death, etc. (See also stave someone or something off.) He could stave his thirst off no longer. Despite the enemy sentries, he made a dash for the stream. The lost hiker could not stave off her hunger any longer.

I see hunger and thirst as things that can be temporarily avoided, but not permanently disposed of. The definition does also refer to thirst, but I've heard "stave off" referred to hunger more than thirst in my experience, as evidenced by this Google Ngram: Stave Off

Another term which implies a similar meaning, but which is used less often is "to keep hunger at bay".

When hunger no longer exists, I'd probably say "I'm full" rather than a statement indicating that my sense of hunger has dissipated. The way I see it, a feeling of fullness replaces hunger much more than a feeling of satiation replaces thirst, so there isn't a direct alternate to the word "quench" in relation to hunger. The closest thing I can think of would be to "satisfy your hunger". Here's a Google Ngram comparing "quench your thirst" to "satisfy your hunger", as well as a comparison to their opposites of "quench your hunger" and "satisfy your thirst": quench vs satisfy

Comparing "stave off hunger" and "satisfy your hunger" ends up roughly equal in usage, at least according to the Google Ngram: stave off vs satisfy

In the end, it's up to you as to what you wish to communicate.

  • 2
    Note that your answer refers to the delay/postponing of hunger rather than the satisfying of it. (I did not vote you down but thought you might want to know why someone else had)
    – snumpy
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 18:34
  • 1
    @snumpy In the end, satisfy actually seems like the best word if you're talking about hunger going away instead of being postponed. Snickers even uses it as their ad campaign. From Snickers.com: "Snickers means hunger satisfaction".
    – Zoot
    Commented Feb 17, 2012 at 20:30
  • I voted you 'up,' seeing you at -3, because, although the word "stave" and its associated expressions do not answer the question asked by the poster, I think it perfectly relevant to the idea of hunger and the expression of degrees of it, et cetera... Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 22:57
  • That is the most technical answer I've ever seen. Upvoted for effort and originality :)
    – James P.
    Commented Mar 3, 2012 at 6:39

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