Miley Cyrus (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

So, Damon. You know I rock with you. You’re my man 100 grand. But why are you devoting an entire explainer to the difference between two words I can just go and find in the dictionary?

Thank you for the kind words! I should tell you, though, that this explainer is actually about the colloquial use of “hungry” and “thirsty,” not the standard definitions.

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Ah, I see. I never should have doubted you. Just like I never should have eaten that microwaved sashimi for lunch today.

Shit. I need to hurry with this explainer, then, because you’re gonna die soon.  

Anyway, in a colloquial sense, “thirsty” and “hungry” both mean the same thing. Each term is a way of articulating a person’s ambition. Where they differ is in connotation.

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How so?

“Hungry” describes an ambition that’s rooted in integrity. It implies hard work, diligence and dedication. You’d advise any person attempting to achieve a goal to be hungry. “Thirsty,” however, implies desperation. A blind ambition where your goals are suspect and you’re more than willing to make questionable decisions to achieve them.

I see. Can you provide an example?

Of course! Let’s say a high school sophomore wishes to be the starting point guard on the school’s basketball team next year. If he’s hungry, he’s going to spend the entire summer refining his game, lifting weights and getting in better shape. If he’s thirsty, however, he’ll start a rumor that the kid he’s competing with for that starting spot has herpes. And not just herpes herpes, but a rare herpes that can only be contracted through basketball contact.

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Thirsty niggas invent diseases?

And spread unsubstantiated rumors. Shit, I wouldn’t be surprised if the bubonic plague was caused by a crew of really thirsty sewer rats pissed that the house rats were getting all the cheese.

Is thirst just based on ambition-based actions?

No. Thirst levels can also be based on why you have a particular ambition. Using the high school basketball player again, if he’s hungry, he wants that starting spot to prove that he deserves it and to be able to compete on the highest levels. Perhaps he even wants to earn a basketball scholarship. If he’s thirsty, he just wants to be a starter to increase his pool for potential prom dates.

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Is it possible to be hungry and thirsty at the same time?

Definitely! For instance, no one would deny that Drake has an impeccable work ethic. Especially back when he was releasing new mixtapes every few months. He was hungry to establish himself as, well, who he is today. But his actual content, while good (mostly), has always been thirsty.

I mean, how many songs can one person write about “Amber” from “Silver Spring” who “worked at Cheesecake Factory” and “hooked you up with extra jalapeño poppers” and how you always wished you could “escape the world together” but you’re “too infatuated with Houston strippers” but still wish, sometimes, that you were “normal” so you could have your “Cheesecake Factory romance” in peace?

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Drake is so thirsty, I’m shocked his tonsils aren’t sandpaper. Someone get that nigga an Aquafina!

Anyone else hungry and thirsty at the same time?

Miley Cyrus, whose career seems to be a perpetual vacillation between extreme hunger and extreme thirst. Taylor Swift was hungry once and now needs intravenous fluids. America, for all its faults, was hungry as fuck for a few hundred years. But now this entire country needs some Kool-Aid.

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Oh, and Jay-Z.

Jay-Z?

Yeah. As interesting and laudable as 4:44 was, you have to admit that was a thirsty-adjacent album. Like, it wasn’t quite parched, but it probably should have hydrated a bit more.

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I see. Well, how are the distinctions between hunger and thirst applied to our daily lives?

The internet, for instance, is a virtual petri dish for unregulated thirst. Like, you know how many cities have created bike lanes on roads, making it easier for people with bikes to travel? Well, the internet is a bike lane for thirsty niggas. Unsolicited DM sliding, unabashed desperation for likes and retweets, performative contrarianism—these are all products of excessive thirst. One day, someone needs to dump the entire internet into a baptismal pool.

That would need to be a big-ass pool.

I guess the ocean would do. But then we’d have to deal with all of that salt. Which is known for making the thirsty even thirstier.