geophagia

geophagy

[jee-of-uh-jee]
noun
the practice of eating earthy matter, especially clay or chalk, as in famine-stricken areas.
Also, geophagia [jee-uh-fey-juh, -jee-uh] , geophagism [jee-of-uh-jiz-uhm] .


Origin:
1840–50; geo- + -phagy

geophagist, noun
geophagous [jee-of-uh-guhs] , adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
geophagy, geophagia or geophagism (dʒɪˈɒfədʒɪ, ˌdʒɪəˈfeɪdʒə, -dʒɪə, dʒɪˈɒfədʒɪzəm)
 
n
1.  the practice of eating earth, clay, chalk, etc, found in some primitive tribes
2.  zoology the habit of some animals, esp earthworms, of eating soil
 
geophagia, geophagia or geophagism
 
n
 
geophagism, geophagia or geophagism
 
n
 
ge'ophagist, geophagia or geophagism
 
n
 
geophagous, geophagia or geophagism
 
adj

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

geophagy
"dirt-eating," 1850, from Gk. *geophagia (the actual Gk. was geotragia), from geo-, comb. form of ge "earth" + 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, 1850]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

geophagy ge·oph·a·gy (jē-ŏf'ə-jē) or ge·oph·a·gism (-jĭz'əm) or ge·o·pha·gia (jē'ə-fā'jə)
n.
The eating of earthy substances, such as clay or chalk, that is practiced as a custom or for dietary or subsistence reasons. Also called dirt-eating.


ge·oph'a·gist n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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