View synonyms for hyperphagia


[ hahy-per-fey-jee-uh, -juh ]


, Pathology, Psychiatry.


/ ˌhaɪpəˈfeɪdʒɪə /


  1. psychol compulsive overeating over a prolonged period

Discover More

Other Words From

  • hy·per·phag·ic [hahy-per-, faj, -ik, -, fey, -jik], adjective

Discover More

Word History and Origins

Origin of hyperphagia1

First recorded in 1940–45; hyper- + -phagia


Discover More

More About Hyperphagia

What is hyperphagia?

Hyperphagia is an abnormal condition of intense hunger and excessive eating.

Hyperphagia is often used as a synonym for bulimia, a psychiatric disorder in which a person feels the need to eat a large amount of food and then purge themselves of (such as by self-induced vomiting). However, a person suffering from hyperphagia may not feel the need to desperately lose weight, as is often the case with bulimia.

While bulimia and similar eating disorders are classified as mental disorders, hyperphagia is not. Instead, hyperphagia is a pathology, that is, an abnormal condition. It can be a symptom of a mental disorder or can have a physical cause, such as a severe brain injury. Medical research has also linked hyperphagia to disorders such as Prader-Willi syndrome, which is inherited from a parent.

Hyperphagia is used in medicine to refer to eating done out of insatiable hunger, as opposed to gluttony, in which a person voluntarily chooses to eat too much.

Hyperphagia is also used in natural science to refer to excessive eating that is done by animals, such as bears, before hibernating. In animals, eating is motivated by natural instincts, so hyperphagia is a normal behavior in certain animals.

Example: Hyperphagia isn’t the same as bulimia, but it can be associated with bulimia.

Where does hyperphagia come from?

The first records of hyperphagia come from around 1940. It combines the Greek prefix hyper-, meaning “over,” as in “excessive,” and the Greek -phegia,which means “eating” or “devouring.” People suffering from hyperphagia will uncontrollably overeat.

Generally speaking, there is no “cure” for hyperphagia. Instead, whatever disease or condition that is causing the hyperphagia would need to be cured or managed. However, some diseases that cause hyperphagia, especially genetic diseases, are currently incurable, so a person might suffer from hyperphagia their entire life.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to hyperphagia?

  • hyperphagic (adjective)

What are some words that share a root or word element with hyperphagia

What are some words that often get used in discussing hyperphagia?

How is hyperphagia used in real life?

Hyperphagia is a medical term used especially in discussing diseases that cause it.

Try using hyperphagia!

True or False?

A person with hyperphagia has an abnormally large appetite and overeats.