Avoir une faim de loup

Avoir une faim de loup
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Informal French Expression

Meaning to be very hungry
Literally to have a wolf’s hunger
Register informal
Pronunciation [ah vwah roon feh(n) deu loo]
IPA   [a vwa ryn fɛ̃ də lu]

Usage notes: English speakers talk about being hungry enough to eat a big animal, such as a bear or horse,* while French speakers talk about being hungry like a big animal: avoir une faim de loup.

Par exemple…

J’espère que le dîner est prêt, j’ai une faim de loup !   I hope dinner is ready, I could eat a bear!

Both languages have many other expressions related to great hunger.

French synonyms

  • avoir l’estomac / le ventre creux – literally: "to have an empty stomach"
  • avoir l’estomac dans les talons – "to have the stomach in the heels"
  • avoir une de ces faims – "to have one of those hungers"
  • être affamé – "to be famished"
  • mourir de faim (je meurs de faim) – "to be dying of hunger (I’m dying of hunger)"
  • avoir la dalle – "to have the throat"
  • avoir la fringale – "to have raging hunger"
  • avoir les crocs – "to have the fangs"
  • claquer du bec – "to click at the mouth"
  • crever de faim – "to be dying from hunger"
  • crever la dalle – "to be dying (at) the throat"
  • crever la faim – "to be dying (of) hunger"

English equivalents

  • to be able to eat a bear (I could eat a bear!)
  • to be able to eat a horse
  • to be (absolutely) famished
  • to be ravenous
  • to be ravenously hungry
  • to be starving, starved

* "Hungry like a wolf," as in the Duran Duran song, refers to a different kind of hunger. But English features "wolf" in some other expressions related to eating:

A growing youth has a wolf in his belly (proverb)   Un jeune homme en pleine croissance a un loup au ventre.
to keep the wolf from the door (to have enough money to eat and survive)   mettre qqun au moins à l’abri du besoin
to wolf down (to eat very quickly)   engloutir

 Related lessons

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Avoir une faim de loup
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