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Old English ofþyrst, past participle of ofþyrstan (to smart from thirst), equivalent to a- (of, Etymology 8) +‎ thirst (verb).



athirst (comparative more athirst, superlative most athirst)

  1. (archaic) Thirsty.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Revelation 21:6,[1]
      I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
    • 1849, Charlotte Brontë, Shirley, Chapter 10,[2]
      To this extenuated spectre, perhaps, a crumb is not thrown once a year, but when ahungered and athirst to famine—when all humanity has forgotten the dying tenant of a decaying house—Divine Mercy remembers the mourner []
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter 1,[3]
      Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever.
  2. (figuratively) Eager or extremely desirous (for something).
    • 1817, John Keats, “Sonnet (Written on a blank space at the end of Chaucer’s tale of ‘The Floure And The Leafe’”[4]
      I, that forever feel athirst for glory,
      Could at this moment be content to lie
      Meekly upon the grass, as those whose sobbings
      Were heard of none beside the mournful robins.
    • 1878, Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Ave Atque Vale (In Memory of Charles Baudelaire)” in Poems and Ballads, Second Series, Stanza IV,[5]
      O sleepless heart and sombre soul unsleeping,
      That were athirst for sleep and no more life
      And no more love, for peace and no more strife!
    • 1913, Rabindranath Tagore, The Gardener, translated from the Bengali by the author, 5,[6]
      I am restless. I am athirst for far-away things.
      My soul goes out in a longing to touch the skirt of the dim distance.