Other forms: famines
A famine is a severe shortage of food, but not the "I forgot to go to the grocery store and there's nothing to eat in the house" type of shortage. A famine is usually caused by crop failure or disaster.
Although the "extreme shortage of food" meaning is most common, the noun famine can also mean any shortage or insufficiency, and it is often used idiomatically in the phrase "feast or famine." This usage refers to something that is alternately plentiful and scarce — like the feast and famine experienced by an artist who only occasionally sells his paintings.
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