EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN noun the practice of eating earthy matter, especially clay or chalk, as in famine-stricken areas.
ge·o·pha·gia [jee- uh- fey-j uh, -jee- uh] /ˌdʒi əˈfeɪ dʒə, -dʒi ə/
ge·oph·a·gism [jee- of- uh-jiz- uh m] /dʒiˈɒf əˌdʒɪz əm/
Origin of geophagy
First recorded in
-phagy Related forms ge·oph·a·gist, noun ge·oph·a·gous , [jee- of- uh-g uh s] /dʒiˈɒf ə gəs/ adjective
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for geophagy Historical Examples of geophagy British Dictionary definitions for geophagy geophagy geophagia ( ˌdʒɪəˈfeɪdʒə, -dʒɪə) or geophagism ( dʒɪˈɒfədʒɪzəm) noun the practice of eating earth, clay, chalk, etc, found in some primitive tribes zoology the habit of some animals, esp earthworms, of eating soil Derived Forms geophagist, noun geophagous ( dʒɪˈɒfəɡəs), adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for geophagy n.
"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]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
n. The eating of earthy substances, such as clay or chalk, that is practiced as a custom or for dietary or subsistence reasons. dirt-eating Related forms ge•oph ′a•gist n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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