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pica1

[pahy-kuh] /ˈpaɪ kə/
noun, Printing.
1.
a 12-point type of a size between small pica and English.
2.
the depth of this type size as a unit of linear measurement for type, pages containing type, etc.; one sixth of an inch.
3.
a 12-point type, widely used for typewriters, having 10 characters to the inch.
Compare elite (def 4).
Origin of pica1
1580-1590
1580-90; apparently < Medieval Latin pīca pie4, on the model of brevier and canon1, other type sizes

pica2

[pahy-kuh] /ˈpaɪ kə/
noun, Pathology.
1.
an abnormal appetite or craving for substances that are not fit to eat, as chalk or clay, common in malnutrition, pregnancy, etc.
Origin
1555-65; < New Latin, special use of Latin pīca jay, magpie, with reference to its omnivorous feeding
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for pica
Historical Examples
  • It was based on the pica size most extensively in use in this country.

  • Replaced in California west of the Sierras by pica nuttalli.

  • pica gages are scales marked off in units of 12-point (and half, or 6-point).

    Typesetting A. A. Stewart
  • These are made in lengths of one yard and in sizes of 6-point (nonpareil), 12-point (pica), and 18-point.

    Typesetting A. A. Stewart
  • The mother, whose name was pica, may have been of Provenal or French blood.

  • Phaeton only smiled, and went on distributing type into his case of pica.

    Phaeton Rogers Rossiter Johnson
  • Pietro entreated and threatened, pica wept and caressed, but all in vain.

    Brother Francis Eileen Douglas
  • The smallest size for practical use is 48-point, or 4-line pica.

    Type A. A. Stewart
  • However, she says it is only pica who is going up for it this time.

    More Bywords Charlotte M. Yonge
  • For it seems pica has a room to herself, and will not give it up or take in any one.

    More Bywords Charlotte M. Yonge
British Dictionary definitions for pica

pica1

/ˈpaɪkə/
noun
1.
Also called em, pica em. a printer's unit of measurement, equal to 12 points or 0.166 ins
2.
(formerly) a size of printer's type equal to 12 point
3.
a typewriter type size having 10 characters to the inch
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-Latin pīca list of ecclesiastical regulations, apparently from Latin pīca magpie, with reference to its habit of making collections of miscellaneous items; the connection between the original sense (ecclesiastical list) and the typography meanings is obscure

pica2

/ˈpaɪkə/
noun
1.
(pathol) an abnormal craving to ingest substances such as clay, dirt, or hair, sometimes occurring during pregnancy, in persons with chlorosis, etc
Word Origin
C16: from medical Latin, from Latin: magpie, being an allusion to its omnivorous feeding habits
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pica
n.1

"size of type of about six lines to the inch" (12 point), 1580s, probably from pica, name of a book of rules in Church of England for determining holy days (late 15c. in Anglo-Latin), probably from Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)); the book so called perhaps from the color and the "pied" look of the old type on close-printed pages. The type size was that generally used to print ordinals.

n.2

"pathological craving for substance unfit for food" (such as chalk), 1560s, from Medieval Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), probably translating Greek kissa, kitta "magpie, jay," also "false appetite." The connecting notion may be the birds' indiscriminate feeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pica in Medicine

pica pi·ca (pī'kə)
n.
An abnormal craving or appetite for nonfood substances, such as dirt, paint, or clay.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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