Synonyms for Craving: What Does “Crave” Mean

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Synonyms for craving

We’ve all been there.

That moment when you can’t get a certain food out of your mind, and you start to crave it.

But what does it mean to crave something? And why do we experience cravings?

In this article, we will explore the definition of craving, its causes, and some synonyms for the word.

We’ll also discuss how cravings can be both positive and negative, and offer some tips on how to deal with them. So if you’re curious about cravings, read on!

What is another word for craving?

The most common synonym for craving is “desire”.

The term “desire” has many uses, is often synonymous with hunger, and typically stresses physical needs.

However, it can also be used when referring to a longing for something emotional or mental, such as attention or love.

If you look in the thesaurus or dictionary, you’ll see many similar words too, like yearning or hankering. Yearning implies a deep and intense longing, often for something that you cannot have.

Hanker is similar to crave in that it’s a strong and persistent desire for something, but it usually has a negative connotation. For example, you might hanker after a cigarette when you’re trying to quit smoking.

What is a word for desire for food?

A synonym for “desire for food” is “appetite”.

Appetite is both a physical and psychological desire to eat. It’s a “food craving” controlled by hormones like ghrelin, which signals to your brain that you’re hungry.

Of course appetite also can also mean non-food. Someone can have a big appetite for money, for example.

Read here for more synonyms for cravings.

Now that we’ve discussed some words related to craving, let’s talk about other related topics.

The definition of craving (examples)

So what does it mean to crave something?

The definition of craving is “to have a strong desire for something”. Simply put, craving means an intense desire.

Cravings can be physical or mental. For example, you might crave a specific food because you’re hungry.

Or, you might find yourself constantly thinking about someone even though you know your relationship with that person is not good for you. This would be an emotional craving.

Different types of cravings

Cravings are either physical or mental from a big picture perspective.

However, if you look more closely, you’ll see many different physical cravings and many unique emotional cravings.

Some examples of physical cravings are:

  • wanting a specific food because you’re nutrient deficient
  • needing to rest or distract because you’re exhausted
  • wanting to drink water because you’re thirsty

On the other hand, some examples of mental / emotional cravings are:

  • thinking about someone constantly even though you know it’s not good for you
  • longing for attention or love
  • desiring success or power

And as you can see, there can be  a lot of overlap between physical and mental cravings.

For example, someone might crave sweets because they’re tired (physical) or because they want a sugar high (mental).

The same goes for somebody who craves cigarettes. They might crave nicotine because their body is physically addicted to it.

Or, they might crave cigarettes because smoking provides a moment of relaxation (mental).

Now that we’ve discussed the definition of craving and some different craving noun synonyms, let’s talk about the effects of cravings.

Effects of cravings on the body and mind

Cravings can be both pleasant or unpleasant to your body and mind.

On the one hand, cravings can give you a boost of energy or make you feel happy  – for example, when you eat your favorite food or get attention from someone you’re attracted to.

On the other hand, cravings can also be stressful and lead to anxiety or depression.

For example, if you constantly crave sweets but are trying to diet, this can lead to feelings of deprivation and stress.

Or, if you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship but keep going back because you crave attention, this can lead to anxiety and depression.

So as you can see, cravings can have both positive and negative effects on your body and mind.

Now that we’ve talked about cravings, what they mean, and so forth, let’s talk about what causes cravings!

What are the causes of cravings?

There are many different causes of cravings.

Physical causes can include hunger, hormones, and nutrient deficiencies.  In some cases, cravings can also be caused by medical conditions such as pregnancy or PMS.

Mental causes can include stress, boredom, and habit.

Emotional causes can include loneliness, anxiety, and depression. As you can see, there are many different causes of cravings. And in some cases, it can be a combination of several factors.

For example, someone might crave sweets because they’re bored and stressed (mental causes), and their body is used to getting sugar when they’re feeling this way (habit).

Or, someone might crave cigarettes because they’re physically addicted to nicotine (physical cause), and smoking provides a moment of relaxation (mental cause).

Tips for dealing with cravings

Now that we’ve discussed what craving synonyms are, the definition of craving, different types of cravings, and what causes them, let’s talk about how to deal with cravings.

If you have a physical craving, the best way to deal with it is to satisfy the craving. For example, if you’re hungry, eat something!

Or, if you’re thirsty, drink some water. If you’re tired, take a nap.

However, if you have a mental or emotional craving, things are a bit more complicated.

These types of cravings often come from deeper issues that need to be addressed. For example, if you find yourself constantly thinking about someone even though you know it’s not good for you, this might be a sign that you’re lonely or have low self-esteem.

In this case, the best way to deal with the craving is to address the underlying issue.

If you’re lonely, try reaching out to friends or family members. Or, if you have low self-esteem, try doing some positive affirmations or talking to a therapist.

These are just a few examples of how to deal with cravings. If you’re struggling with cravings, there are many resources out there that can help you!

Common obstacles

Of course, mental health is challenging.

If getting over depression and binge eating were easy, then millions of people wouldn’t be stuck in these negative patterns.

There are many obstacles that get in the way when you’re trying to figure out the root cause driving your compulsive cravings and out of control behavior.

Inner Conflict

Often your “inner critic” will shame you for feeling depressed.

It will tell you that you should be grateful for what you have and that other people have it worse.

This line of thinking creates inner conflict and can make it difficult to deal with your emotions in a healthy way.

Pleasure trap

Another obstacle is the “pleasure trap.” This is when you seek out short-term pleasure (like binge eating) to avoid dealing with negative emotions (like depression).

However, this only leads to more problems down the road.

The good news is that there are ways to overcome these obstacles! With hard work and dedication, you can get to the root of your cravings and start living a happier, healthier life.

I highly suggest journaling so that you can map out your inner dynamics and get to the root of your real issues – especially if you experience inner conflict.

If you are struggling with craving and have inner conflict, there are simply a few “unconscious” psychological dynamics going on within you.

Keeping a mindful awareness journal can help you become aware of your cues, triggers and see what’s really driving your compulsive behaviors.


In conclusion, synonyms for craving include desire, hunger, and thirst.

Cravings can be physical, mental, or emotional. And they can be caused by things like boredom, stress, habit, or addiction.

If you’re struggling with cravings, there are many resources out there that can help you!

Be sure to journal so that you can map out your inner dynamics and get to the root of your real issues. Read here for some journaling quotes and tips! Thanks for reading!

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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