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pica1

[pahy-kuh] /ˈpaɪ kə/
noun, Printing.
1.
a 12-point type of a size between small pica and English.
2.
the depth of this type size as a unit of linear measurement for type, pages containing type, etc.; one sixth of an inch.
3.
a 12-point type, widely used for typewriters, having 10 characters to the inch.
Compare elite (def 4).
Origin
1580-1590
1580-90; apparently < Medieval Latin pīca pie4, on the model of brevier, canon1 (def 14)

pica2

[pahy-kuh] /ˈpaɪ kə/
noun, Pathology
1.
an abnormal appetite or craving for substances that are not fit to eat, as chalk or clay, common in malnutrition, pregnancy, etc.
Origin
1555-65; < Neo-Latin, special use of Latin pīca jay, magpie, with reference to its omnivorous feeding
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pica
  • One odd symptom, which in some cases is also a cause of iron deficiency, is pica.
  • Hospitalizations for eating disorders declined, but big increase seen in pica disorder.
  • pica specializes in contemporary performance and visual arts programming.
British Dictionary definitions for pica

pica1

/ˈpaɪkə/
noun
1.
Also called em, pica em. a printer's unit of measurement, equal to 12 points or 0.166 ins
2.
(formerly) a size of printer's type equal to 12 point
3.
a typewriter type size having 10 characters to the inch
Word Origin
C15: from Anglo-Latin pīca list of ecclesiastical regulations, apparently from Latin pīca magpie, with reference to its habit of making collections of miscellaneous items; the connection between the original sense (ecclesiastical list) and the typography meanings is obscure

pica2

/ˈpaɪkə/
noun
1.
(pathol) an abnormal craving to ingest substances such as clay, dirt, or hair, sometimes occurring during pregnancy, in persons with chlorosis, etc
Word Origin
C16: from medical Latin, from Latin: magpie, being an allusion to its omnivorous feeding habits
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
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Word Origin and History for pica
n.

"size of type of about six lines to the inch" (12 point), 1580s, probably from pica, name of a book of rules in Church of England for determining holy days (late 15c. in Anglo-Latin), probably from Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)); the book so called perhaps from the color and the "pied" look of the old type on close-printed pages. The type size was that generally used to print ordinals.

"pathological craving for substance unfit for food" (such as chalk), 1560s, from Medieval Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), probably translating Greek kissa, kitta "magpie, jay," also "false appetite." The connecting notion may be the birds' indiscriminate feeding.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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pica in Medicine

pica pi·ca (pī'kə)
n.
An abnormal craving or appetite for nonfood substances, such as dirt, paint, or clay.

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