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Phagy Words: “acridophage” to “dysphagia”
Part 1 of 4

Words that include: phago-, phag-, -phage, -phagi,
-phagic, -phagically, -phagia, -phagism, -phagist, -phagic,
-phagous, -phag
(Greek: eat, eating, consume, ingest)

Quiz   If you would like to take a self-scoring quiz over some of the words in this section, then click Phagy-Quiz which is located at the end of this set of definitions so you can see how much you know about these “phagy” words.

acridophage, acridophagous, acridophagy:
Feeding on, consuming, or eating grasshoppers.
    A Grasshopper in Every Pot

  • Archeologists have confirmed that prehistoric hunter-gatherers ate insects; specifically grasshoppers and crickets.
  • Research of ethnographic and historical records of Native American groups in the western United States to see if similar practices were observed in more recent times led to the discovery that insects, particularly grasshoppers and the grass-hopperlike Mormon crickets (so named because they had threatened to destroy the Mormon pioneers’ first crops in 1848), were indeed favored food resources in the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau and were regularly included in their diet.
  • Speaking of the Ute and Southern Paiute, for example, geologist-ethnologist John Wesley Powell noted in the 1870s that:

  • "Grasshoppers and crickets form a very important
    part of the food of these people."

    Soon after they are fledged and before their wings are sufficiently developed for them to fly, or later in the season when they are chilled with cold, great quantities are collected by sweeping them up with brush brooms, or they are driven into pits, by beating the ground with sticks.

    When thus collected, they are roasted in trays like seeds and ground into meal and eaten as mush or cakes. Another method of preparing them is to roast great quantities of them in pits filled with embers and hot ashes. When these insects are abundant, the season is one of many festivities. When prepared in this way these insects are considered very great delicacies.

  • An 1864 account of cricket collecting along the Sevier River in Utah describes an occasion when a small group quickly gathered “fifty bushels” by driving the insects into the stream with willow branches and scooping them up in carrying baskets.
  • According to the historical accounts, grasshoppers and crickets were usually roasted and ground, then mixed with pine seeds, baked and eaten as cakes.
—Information presented here was based on an article printed in
“A Grasshopper in Every Pot” by David B. Madsen; Natural History, July, 1989.

The fusion of two gametes of the same sex.
A name applied to a family or group of Beetles, also called Carnivora, and divided into the two sections of Geodephaga and Hydradephaga.
adephagia, adephagous, adephagy:
Pertaining to Adephaga; gluttonous, excessive, greedy eating.
aerophagia, aerophagy:
1. Excessive swallowing of air, usually an unconscious process associated with anxiety, resulting in abdominal distention or belching, often interpreted by the patient as signs of a physical disorder.
2. Abnormal spasmodic swallowing of air, especially as a symptom of hysteria.
3. The abnormal spasmodic swallowing of air, a common cause of flatulence and belching.
algophagous, algophage, algophagy:
Feeding on algae.
allotriophagia, allotriophagy:
A morbid impulse to eat unnatral foodstuffs; such as, ice, dirt, paint (including flaking paint), clay, laundry startch, gravel, plaster, or hair. This condition is known in medical fields as “pica” which comes from Latin meaning “magpie” (because this bird eats just about anything or carries away odd objects).

Pica and unusual food cravings (citta) are common in pregnant women. Pica also occurs in some patients with iron or zinc deficiencies. In children this syndrome, classified with eating disorders, is a rare mental disorder with onset typically in the second year of life; it usually remits in childhood but may persist into adolescence.

The Suffering of People with “Pica”

  • The teacher’s problem was chalk. Instead of writing with the stuff, she was eating it—five or six sticks each day.
  • She is one of the possible millions of people who has what is called “pica,” the craving and consuming of non-food items.
  • Chalk, clay, laundry starch, ice cubes, plaster, dirt, tinfoil, and paper are just a sampling of some of the things consumed by people with pica, and sufferers usually crave a single substance.
  • Some pica sufferers crave their own hair, eating it by the handfuls until it wads in their stomachs and requires surgery.
  • Most picas are not fatal but they can cause vitamin deficiencies, ulcers, stomach upsets and psychological problems, according to doctors who have studied the disorder.
  • Doctors are not sure if picas are caused by vitamin and mineral deficiencies or if they are a learned social habit.
  • Whole neighborhoods in some Southern states are known to eat clay out of specific clay pits and will even ship “care packages” of the clay to relatives and friends who have moved away.
  • Most peolple with pica suffer from iron or zinc deficiencies, but doctors are not sure if the deficiency triggers the craving or if the craving creates the deficiency.
  • Picas are also common in institutions. Institutionalized people with the condition often resort to eating their hair because other substances are removed from them.
  • Many pregnant women crave as well, but often for weird food combinations rather than non-food items.
  • Eating ice cubes is a common form of pica experienced by non-pregnant, middle-class women. People with this pica can chew up to five gallons of ice a day, ruining their teeth if not their appetite.
  • Often the substance craved in pica has no real taste to it and there seems to be more interest in the feel or the texture of the items being eaten than in any taste factors.
  • —This information is based on an article titled,
    "The suffering of people with 'pica' " by Gayle Young,
    United Press International as seen in The Stars and Stripes,
    February 19, 1986.

    amylophagous, amylophagia:
    A morbid craving to eat starch. A form of allotriophagia or “pica”.
    The eating of a man (as opposed to a woman); similar to anthropophagus (cannibalism).
    anthophagous, anthophagy:
    Feeding on flowers.
    anthropophagi (plural), anthropophagus (singular):
    One who eats the flesh of other human beings; cannibilism.
    1. Abstention from eating.
    2. The inability or refusal to eat or swallow.
    The inability to eat.
    The loss of the ability to swallow.
    araneophage, araneophagic, araneophagy:
    Feeding on or eating spiders.
    autocoprophage, autocoprophagous, autocoprophagy:
    A reference to an organism that consumes its own feces.
    autologophagist, autologophagy:
    A reference to those who must eat their own words.
    autophagia, autophagous, autophagy:
    1. Self-devouring; the biting or eating of one’s own flesh.
    2. The nutrition of the body by the consumption of its own tissues; the feeding upon oneself, sustenance of life during the process of starvation by absorption of the tissues of the body.
    3. A reference to precocious offspring who are capable of locating and securing their own food.
    1. A virus infesting and usually lysing [destroying the bounding
    membrane] bacteria; sometimes abbreviated as phage.
    2 An organism that feeds on bacteria.
    bacteriophagous, bacteriophagy:
    Eating bacteria.
    The eating or consumption of frogs.
    bibliophagic, bibliophagy:
    Devouring books, either by reading, collecting (as a bibliophile or bibliomaniac), or by actual consumption as by lice, worms, etc.
    biophage, biophagism, biophagous, biophagy:
    Consuming, eating, or destroying other living organisms; a special reference to certain parasites.
    bradyphagia, bradyphagy:
    An abnormal slowness to eat.
    The consumption of cancer cells.
    carpophagous, carpophage, carpophagy:
    Feeding on fruit (or seeds).
    cerophagia, cerophagous, cerophagy:
    Wax-eating or feeding on wax.
    cheilophagia, chilophagia:
    An excessive biting of the lips.
    chthonophagia, chthonophagy:
    Eating earth; rarely used terms for geophgia.
    coprophagous, coprophagia, coprophagy:
    The eating of excrement or dung (feces); said especially of dung beetles.
    creophagic, creophagism, creophagous, creophagy:
    1. Eating flesh; the use of flesh as food.
    2. Carnivorous; used particularly of insectivorous plants.
    cytophagous, cytophagy:
    Devouring of other cells by phagocytes; that is, the absorption of cells by other cells.
    dendrophage, dendrophagous, dendrophagy:
    Feeding on wood.
    detriophagous, detriophage, detriophagy:
    Feeding on detritus (particles of organic matter from the decomposition of plant and animal remains) or organic debris.
    dysphagia, dysphagy:
    Difficulty swallowing. Isn’t this a good word to use when listening to politicians making promises, promises, ad infinitum?

    Quiz    You may take a self-scoring quiz over some of the words in this section by just clicking on Phagy Quiz #1 to check your word knowledge for this section.