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Calque of German Hungerstein.


hunger stone (plural hunger stones)

  1. A stone found in a river that can be seen when the water level is particularly low.
    • 1918 August 14, “Topics of Interest in Northern Wisconsin”, in Paper: A Weekly Technical Journal for Paper and Pulp Mills:
      If there were a “hunger stone" in the Fox river like the one in the Elbe, it would now be showing its unwelcome face above the waters—which is equivalent to saying that the water level, and power correspondingly, is very low indeed.
    • 1993, Alfred HErrhausen Gessellschaft, Society in Paralysis During Times of Change:
      Being here in Frankfurt reminds me of this region's famous »Hungersteine«, or hunger stones, as the Main River boatmen used to call the rocks that became visible when the water level was low.
    • 2006, Werner H. Von Rosenstiel, Hitler's Soldier in the U.S. Army: An Unlikely Memoir of WW II, page 45:
      It sat on the bluffs of the Susquehanna, where I discovered the hunger stones, which in most years were covered by the river and could be seen only during drought years.