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Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Sep 18, 2006 9:03 pm

• geophagy •

Pronunciation: jee-ah-fê-jee • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, mass

Meaning: The eating of earth, especially clay, or other non-food substances.

Notes: Animals and humans sometimes eat the planet they live on, especially the clays on it. Geophagy may also be an inexpensive way to acquire additional minerals, as in the case of African and African-American women who sometimes eat white clay during pregnancy (click here for more). Soil is also sometimes eaten by animals and humans to alleviate digestive disorders. Someone who practices geophagy is a geophagist.

In Play: Geophagy sounds like a dirty word but it is the least expensive multivitamin known to man: "Geophagy as practiced in the southeastern US is considered to have originated in Africa." Sure, you can play with this word; watch your friends run for the dictionary: "Lenny comes home from football practice looking like he has been engaged in geophagy." (I guess, figuratively, he has been.)

Word History: Today's dirty little Good Word comes from Greek ge "earth" + phag-ein "to eat". We see ge in many words referring to the earth: geology, geography, and geometry. Even the name, George, comes from a Greek word meaning "farmer", someone who tills the earth. The verb phagein is related to a recent Good Word, baksheesh, which originally meant "a gift", suggesting the original meaning of the root must have been roughly "provide something desirable". (Today we than John Hall for suggesting today's very down-to-earth Good Word.)
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Postby Bailey » Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:45 am

we used to call that Pico, but I don't know the right spelling, I can't find it in any dictionaries.

mark eats-only-normal-stuff Bailey

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Postby Perry » Tue Sep 19, 2006 2:03 pm

I can just imagine that Orbit Chewing Gum model: Geophagic mouth? Clean it up with Orbit.
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Postby Stargzer » Tue Sep 19, 2006 4:04 pm

NOUN: An abnormal craving or appetite for nonfood substances, such as dirt, paint, or clay.
ETYMOLOGY: New Latin pīca, from Latin, magpie (from its omnivorous nature).

Dogs do it. Oh, do they do it!

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Postby tcward » Fri Sep 22, 2006 3:18 pm

My sister's pony has marked geophagistic tendencies... but my only weak spot for earthen meals is the dessert known affectionately as mud pie!


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