Feeling hungry can make us feel 'hangry' (18th July, 2022)


A word first coined in 1918, but rarely used today, may become a more frequently used part of the English lexicon. That word is “hangry,” which is a portmanteau of the words “hungry” and “angry”. It means to be bad tempered or irritable as a result of hunger. The word is making a comeback because of research that suggests “hanger” is a diagnosable feeling. Researchers believe “hangriness” could be a genuine medical phenomenon. Scientists from the UK’s Anglia Ruskin University examined how hunger affects emotions during our daily lives. Lead author Professor Viren Swami said the research indicated a strong link between hunger and feelings of anger, irritability, or low pleasure.

The researchers analysed data from 64 volunteers aged between 18 and 60. The participants had to complete surveys on a smartphone app five times a day for 21 days. The app helped people to give researchers real-time information on their feelings when they were hungry. Dr Swami explained this provided a “meaningful” link between hunger and emotions. He said: “The results of the…study suggest that the experience of being hangry is real.” He added: “We show, for the first time in a non-laboratory setting, that feeling hungry is associated with greater anger, irritability and lower levels of pleasure.” He suggested that if people knew they were hangry, they could control their anger better.