Words at Play : Top 10 Words with Bizarre Meanings

#5: Poltophagy

Definition:

thorough chewing of food until it becomes like porridge

About the Word:

Poltophagy was an offshoot of Fletcherism, a health fad of the Victorian era. Nutritionist Horace Fletcher advocated chewing each mouthful 30+ times before swallowing as a method of maximizing health. Adherents of poltophagy were not distracted from dinner conversation by chew–counts, but they nonetheless had their mouths full for much of the meal.

The word poltophagy was coined by a doctor who drew upon the Greek word poltos for his coinage, with the misunderstanding that poltos meant "masticated" or "finely divided." Poltos, though, means "porridge," and this etymology has stuck to the modern word.

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March 30, 2015
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