A Hungry Man is an Angry Man: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
December 13, 2023

The saying "a hungry man is an angry man" indicates that people can get easily irritated or upset when hungry. Hunger can affect a person's mood and make them more prone to feeling annoyed or even angry. When someone's basic needs, like food, aren't met, they're more likely to have a short temper or become agitated.

In short:

  • It means that hunger can lead to irritability or anger.
  • This saying reminds us that not meeting basic needs like food can affect our emotions.

What Does "A Hungry Man Is an Angry Man" Mean?

The phrase "a hungry man is an angry man" tells us hunger can directly affect a person's mood. If someone is hungry, they're more likely to be grumpy, irritable, or even angry. It shows that basic needs like food are closely tied to our emotional state.

Let's look at what this phrase means:

  • Being hungry can make a person more prone to frustration or irritability.
  • It serves as a reminder that meeting basic needs like food is crucial for maintaining a good mood.
  • It suggests that hunger doesn't just affect the body but also impacts our emotions and interactions with others.
  • This saying often describes someone's mood swings when they haven't eaten for a while.
  • Similar sayings include "hangry," a blend of hungry and angry, and "you're not you when you're hungry," which is often used in advertising.

Where Does "A Hungry Man Is an Angry Man" Come From?

The proverb "a hungry man is an angry man" boasts a rich history, with its origins dating back to the 17th century, at the very least. The earliest documented instance of this saying is found in a 1641 compilation of Scottish Proverbs, where it appears as "Hungry men are angry." By 1659, the expression had already entered the realm of English proverbs, recorded as "A hungry man, an angry man."

Over the years, the phrase has gained increasing prominence in literature and popular conversation. For example, in a 1738 publication called "Polite Conversation II," one character declares, "I'm hungry," to which another replies, "And I'm angry, so let us both go fight." This exchange indicates that the proverb had firmly established itself in the lexicon of the English-speaking world by the 18th century.

Historical Example

"Chump chop from the grill. Bolting to get it over. Sad booser’s eyes. Bitten off more than he can chew. Am I like that? See ourselves as others see us. Hungry man is an angry man. Working tooth and jaw."

- Ulysses by James Joyce, 1922

10 Examples of "A Hungry Man Is an Angry Man" in Sentences

To make the saying more relatable, let's look at different situations where it fits:

  • Achieving a balanced diet is no mean feat when you consider that a hungry man is an angry man.
  • When she's hungry, she gets snappy with everyone, proving that a hungry man is an angry man.
  • Always provide your team with snacks because a hungry man is an angry man, and you don't want low energy affecting productivity.
  • Oh snap, you forgot to pack lunch? Well, a hungry man is an angry man, so you better find some food soon.
  • After a day of fasting, she was not in the mood for jokes, a perfect example that a hungry man is an angry man.
  • "A hungry man is an angry man," my grandfather always says, emphasizing the importance of regular meals to avoid hangry outbursts.
  • Remember that a hungry man is an angry man if you've ever wondered why office meetings seem more contentious right before lunch.
  • Dealing with hunger on a daily basis can be challenging; after all, a hungry man is an angry man.
  • Don't get me started on the importance of regular meals; a hungry man is an angry man, and that's a fact.
  • There's no need to split hairs over the menu choices; just remember, a hungry man is an angry man, so choose something filling.

Examples of "A Hungry Man Is an Angry Man" in Pop Culture

This saying also pops up in various cultural settings and is often used to talk about mood swings due to hunger.

Let's see some examples:

  • James Howell is credited with the quote, "A hungry man is an angry man."
  • Buchi Emecheta also uses the phrase "A hungry man is an angry one" in her writings. She is a Nigerian-born British writer known for her works on gender and racial discrimination.
  • Bob Marley & The Wailers have a song called "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)" that includes the lyrics "A hungry mob is an angry mob." The song addresses social issues and poverty.
  • Pollydore released a song in 2013 titled "A Hungry Man Is a Angry Man."
  • Another video, part of the "Best Of Mark Angel Comedy," is titled "Hungry Man Is Angry Man.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "A Hungry Man Is an Angry Man"

While this phrase is quite specific, there are other ways to talk about how hunger affects your mood.

Here are some:

  • Hangry
  • Empty stomach, short temper
  • Hunger leads to irritation
  • Food shortage, mood plunge
  • Low on fuel, high on frustration
  • No meal, no chill
  • Starving and steaming
  • Famished and furious
  • Hungry and grumpy
  • Skip a meal, catch a mood

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "A Hungry Man Is An Angry Man":

  • What does "a hungry man is an angry man" mean?

"A hungry man is an angry man" means that people who are hungry or in need are more likely to be irritable or upset. This can be both literally about hunger or more broadly about being deprived of other needs or wants.

  • How can I use "a hungry man is an angry man" in a sentence?

You can use it to talk about someone who's grumpy because they haven't eaten, or to discuss how basic needs being unmet can lead to frustration or anger. For example: “She knew better than to argue with him before dinner; a hungry man is an angry man.” Or “The workers are demanding better wages. You know what they say, a hungry man is an angry man.”

  • Is the phrase gender-specific?

No, the phrase isn't just about men. It's a general idea that applies to everyone, regardless of gender.

  • Does it only refer to physical hunger?

No, it can also refer to a lack of other basic needs, like love, attention, or security. When these needs are not met, people may become agitated or irritable.

  • Is it used in certain cultures more than others?

While the phrase is commonly used in English-speaking cultures, the idea that unmet needs lead to frustration is universal and exists in various forms across cultures.

  • Can it be used in professional settings?

Yes, but use it with care. In a professional setting, it could be used to discuss the importance of meeting employees' basic needs for job satisfaction and productivity.

  • Is this phrase used in literature or pop culture?

Yes, the phrase can be found in literature, usually to highlight the basic human nature of needs affecting emotions and actions. In pop culture, it might be used humorously to explain someone's bad mood.

  • How old is this expression?

The phrase has been around for quite some time but it's hard to pinpoint its exact origin. Its meaning and implications have stayed pretty consistent over the years.

  • Is it related to any scientific studies or theories?

Yes, the idea ties back to psychological theories like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which talks about how basic needs must be met for a person to focus on higher-level activities and thoughts.

  • Can it be used sarcastically?

Yes, it can be used sarcastically to mock someone who is grumpy for what seems like trivial reasons. For example, “He's upset he lost his pen. A hungry man is an angry man, I guess!”

Final Thoughts About "A Hungry Man Is An Angry Man"

This phrase shines a light on the direct link between our basic needs and our emotional state. Whether it's hunger, lack of sleep, or some other form of deprivation, these unmet needs can lead us to act out or lose patience quickly.

Here's a quick recap:

  • It alerts us to how our needs impact our feelings and actions.
  • The phrase is not gender-specific and applies universally to all humans.
  • While often used literally to discuss hunger, the term basic needs can also encompass other basic needs, including emotional and psychological ones.
  • It serves as a simple but effective reminder to take care of ourselves and understand the root causes of irritability in others.

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