the practice of eating earthy matter, especially clay or chalk, as in famine-stricken areas.

Nearby words

  1. geomorphology,
  2. geonavigation,
  3. geonim,
  4. geophagia,
  5. geophagous,
  6. geophilous,
  7. geophone,
  8. geophysical,
  9. geophysical year, international,
  10. geophysicist

Also ge·o·pha·gia [jee-uh-fey-juh, -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 1840–50; geo- + -phagy

Related formsge·oph·a·gist, nounge·oph·a·gous [jee-of-uh-guh s] /dʒiˈɒf ə gəs/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for geophagy


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
Derived Formsgeophagist, noungeophagous (dʒɪˈɒfəɡəs), adjective

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

Word Origin and History for geophagy


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for geophagy




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 formsge•opha•gist n.

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