To be hungry in Italian

How do you translate the expression to be hungry in Italian?

In this lesson we’ll take a look at this very expression, also known as collocation, and will even talk about what kinds of hunger are there in Italian and what words you can use to describe them.

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To be hungry in Italian

First things first, let’s translate to be hungry in Italian.

Avere fame
To be hungry

hungry kid - how do you say to be hungry in italian

To be hungry in Italian – Let’s break this up!

Avere fame could be literally translated as to have hunger.

To have


Marta ha fame.
Marta is hungry.

Although you could literally translate to be hungry as essere affamato, with affamato being an adjective, in everyday life this expression is almost never used.

Essere affamato
To be hungry

Ideally you would say something like sono affamato!, I am hungry!, to stress your condition: I AM hungry (and I need food asap).

If you just need to get across that you’re hungry, stick to avere fame.

woman hungry for a rice ball

Avere is a verb of the second -ere group. Its indicativo presente conjugation is irregular and is as follows.

lui, leiha

Avere is a very common verb that is used in a wide variety of other Italian expressions. Here are some:

Avere sete
To be thirsty

Avere caldo
To be hot

Avere freddo
To be cold

Avere bisogno di
To need

woman trembling because she's cold in the office - how do you say to be hungry in italian

For example, you could say:

Ho sempre molta sete dopo aver corso nel parco.
I am always very thirsty after running in the park.

Non hai caldo con quella giacca? Ci sono 26 gradi!
Aren’t you hot in that jacket? It’s 26 degrees!

Il cagnolino sta tremando. Deve avere freddo.
The puppy is shivering. It must be cold.

Per preparare la torta, abbiamo bisogno di 200 grammi di cacao in polvere.
To prepare the cake, we need 200 grams of cocoa powder.


We said that the translation for to be hungry in Italian is avere fame. Fame is a feminine noun (una/la fame). Since it’s uncountable, it has no plural form.

Non ho mangiato nulla per tutto il giorno. Ho una fame da lupi.
I didn’t eat anything all day. I have the hunger of a wolf.

Ogni anno, milioni di persone muoiono di fame in Africa.
Every year, millions of people die of hunger in Africa.

hungry family sitting at a table with no food on it

There’s more than one kind of hunger in Italian. Here are some words that often go with fame or affamato.

Fame nel mondo
World hunger

Bocca da sfamare
Hungry mouth
(Mouth to feed)

Lupo affamato
Hungry wolf

Sciopero della fame
Hunger strike

very thin man on hunger strike

For example, you could say…

I prigionieri minacciano di iniziare uno sciopero della fame.
The prisoners are threatening to go on a hunger strike.

Sono stato attaccato da un lupo affamato.
I was attacked by a hungry wolf.

Il capitalismo globale è la causa principale della fame nel mondo.
Global capitalism is the primary cause of world hunger.

To be hungry in Italian – Examples

Se hai fame, dovresti mangiare qualcosa.
If you’re hungry, you should eat something.

Ho fame! Cosa c’è per cena stasera?
I’m hungry! What’s for dinner tonight?

La giraffa sembrava molto affamata.
The giraffe looked very hungry.

Molte persone nel mondo vanno a letto affamate ogni sera.
Many people around the world go to bed hungry every night.

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