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The eating of earthy substances, such as clay or chalk, practiced among various peoples as a custom or for dietary or subsistence reasons.

ge·oph′a·gism n.
ge·oph′a·gist n.


(dʒɪˈɒfədʒɪ) ,




1. (Anthropology & Ethnology) the practice of eating earth, clay, chalk, etc, found in some primitive tribes
2. (Zoology) zoology the habit of some animals, esp earthworms, of eating soil
geˈophagist n
geophagous adj


(dʒiˈɒf ə dʒi)

also ge•o•pha•gia

(ˌdʒi əˈfeɪ dʒə, -dʒi ə)

the practice of eating earthy matter, esp. clay or chalk, as in famine-stricken areas.
ge•oph′a•gous (-gəs) adj.

geophagism, geophagy, geophagia

the eating of earthy matter, especially clay or chalk. — geophagist, n. — geophagous, adj.
See also: Earth
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.geophagy - eating earth, clay, chalk; occurs in some primitive tribes, sometimes in cases of nutritional deficiency or obsessive behavior
pica - an eating disorder, frequent in children, in which non-nutritional objects are eaten persistently


, geophagism, geophagy
n. geofagia, geofagismo, propensión a comer sustancias terrosas tales como tierra o barro.
References in periodicals archive ?
Here, we report and comment on arboreal termite nest geophagy by the Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri) during the excavation of nest cavities.
Eating soil, or its component parts, is known as geophagy.
Regarding source of infection, orangutans engage in geophagy (14), a behavior that this animal frequently practiced, suggesting that the infectious agent could have been obtained from contaminated soil.
In La nostra vita, in contrast, we only find a vacuum, a total disconnectedness from one's own source, the triumph of un-reality: a perverse, brainless, virus-induced geophagy.
The practice of eating dirt, or geophagy, is not considered a social norm in Western society, but the custom is quite common in poorer countries, such as Haiti.
Hunter JM Macroterm geophagy and pregnancy clays in Southern Africa.
The court heard that the practice of eating Sikor, known as geophagy, is an ancient tradition that is still widespread in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa and India.
Geophagy has been observed in Iran, China, the Indian sub-continent, South East Asia and Africa.
Earth-eating, or geophagy, became categorized as one of the many forms of pica, or "the eating of nutritional, nonfood items in a compulsive way"--hence, an "eating disorder" meriting nutritional or psychiatric counseling.
As one with an interest in geophagy (Rowland 2002), I found Chapters 1, 2, 5 and 7 of greatest interest.
mineral Licks, Geophagy, and Biochemistry of North American Ungulates.