noun (1)
pi·​ca | \ ˈpī-kə How to pronounce pica (audio) \

Definition of pica

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an abnormal desire to eat substances (such as chalk or ashes) not normally eaten


noun (2)

Definition of pica (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : 12-point type
2 : a unit of about ¹/₆ inch used in measuring typographic material
3 : a typewriter type providing 10 characters to the linear inch and six lines to the vertical inch

First Known Use of pica

Noun (1)

1563, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pica

Noun (1)

New Latin, from Latin, magpie — more at pie

Noun (2)

probably from Medieval Latin, collection of church rules

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Cite this Entry

“Pica.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pica. Accessed 24 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for pica


pi·​ca | \ ˈpī-kə How to pronounce pica (audio) \

Medical Definition of pica

: an abnormal craving for and eating of substances (as chalk, ashes, or bones) not normally eaten that occurs in nutritional deficiency states (as aphosphorosis) in humans or animals or in some forms of mental illness — compare geophagy

More from Merriam-Webster on pica

Britannica English: Translation of pica for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pica

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