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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.

geophagism, geophagy, geophagia

the eating of earthy matter, especially clay or chalk. — geophagist, n. — geophagous, adj.
See also: Earth
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


, geophagism, geophagy
n. geofagia, geofagismo, propensión a comer sustancias terrosas tales como tierra o barro.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in periodicals archive ?
Formative research on hygiene behaviors and geophagy among infants and young children and implications of exposure to fecal bacteria.
1998: Natural licks and geophagy (soil ingestion) by large mammal species in the rain forest of the Central African Republic.
Consumption of soils (geophagy) by animals occurs in several classes of vertebrates and is well-known and widespread (Brightsmith.
Chekryzhov et al., "Rare earth elements upon assessment of reasons of the geophagy in Sikhote-Alin region (Russian Federation), Africa and other world regions," Environmental Geochemistry and Health, vol.
Effects of weather on parrot geophagy in Tambopata, Peru.
magna by drinking water or consuming wet soils at mineral licks (geophagy), a common behavior in cervids (Weeks and Kirkpatrick 1976, Fraser et al.
The toxic compounds in the soil can be absorbed by humans through direct skin contact, inhalation, ingestion of percolated water or geophagy (Watanabe & Hirayama, 2001; Van De Wiele, Verstraete, & Siciliano, 2004).
Wild Things offers a diverse collection of chapters on environmental history, ranging in coverage geographically from North America, Germany and Britain through Madagascar and Haiti, temporally from the mid-nineteenth through the early twenty-first centuries, and topically from hunting and wildlife, colonial and post-colonial encounters with nature, through German folk tales, geophagy and Cold War-era underwater laboratories.
One study demonstrating soil ingestion, or geophagy, by bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) in Alberta, Canada found their feces contained as much as 30% soil in some samples (Skipworth 1974).