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a combining form meaning “eating,” “feeding on,” “devouring” that specified by the initial element: creophagous; hylophagous; rhizophagous.
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of -phagous

<Greek -phagos, adj. derivative of phágein to eat; see -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -phagous mean?

The combining form -phagous is used like a suffix meaning “eating,” “feeding on,” or “devouring” a thing specified by the first part of the word. It is used in many scientific and other technical terms, especially in biology.

The form -phagous ultimately comes from the Greek phageîn, meaning “to eat, devour.” This Greek root also helps form the word esophagus. Discover the connection at our entry for the word.

The form -phagous is often used as an adjective form of words ending in the related -phagy or -phagia. Also closely related to -phagous is -phage, and a corresponding form of -phagous combined to the beginning of words is phago-. Eat up all the specific details at our Words That Use articles for these forms.

Examples of -phagous

One example of a scientific term that features the combining form -phagous is rhizophagous, meaning “feeding on roots.”

The first part of the word, rhizo-, is a combining form meaning “root.” The second part, -phagous, means “eating.” Rhizophagous literally translates to “root-eating.”

What are some words that use the combining form -phagous?

What are some other forms that -phagous may be commonly confused with?

Keep in mind that -ous is a suffix used to form a great many words in English, from stupendous to stannous. While it is related to the -ous in -tomous, -ous in these words—as well as a multitude of others, from nervous to glorious—is not indicating “cut” or “divided.” Learn more at our entry for -ous.

Break it down!

The combining form xylo- means “wood.” With this in mind, what does an insect characterized as xylophagous do?