- the practice of eating earthy matter, especially clay or chalk, as in famine-stricken areas.
Origin of geophagy
Examples from the Web for geophagy
Historical Examples of geophagy
The Whites settled in South America are likewise addicted to geophagy.The Races of Man
geophagia (ˌdʒɪəˈfeɪdʒə, -dʒɪə) or geophagism (dʒɪˈɒfədʒɪzəm)
- the practice of eating earth, clay, chalk, etc, found in some primitive tribes
- zoology the habit of some animals, esp earthworms, of eating soil
Word Origin and History for geophagy
"dirt-eating," 1850, from Greek *geophagia (according to OED the actual Greek is geotragia), from geo-, comb. form of ge "earth" (see Gaia) + phagein "to eat."
A diseased appetite ... prevails in several parts of Alabama, where they eat clay. I heard various speculations on the origin of this singular propensity, called 'geophagy' in some medical books. [Lyell, "Second Visit to U.S.," 1850]
Cf. also pica (n.2).
- The eating of earthy substances, such as clay or chalk, that is practiced as a custom or for dietary or subsistence reasons.dirt-eating