pica

1 of 2

noun (1)

pi·​ca ˈpī-kə How to pronounce pica (audio)
: an abnormal desire to eat substances (such as chalk or ashes) not normally eaten

pica

2 of 2

noun (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

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

New Latin, from Latin, magpie — more at pie

Noun (2)

probably from Medieval Latin, collection of church rules

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1563, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1588, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pica was in 1563

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Cite this Entry

“Pica.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pica. Accessed 25 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

pica

noun
pi·​ca
ˈpī-kə
: a typewriter type providing 10 characters to the inch

Medical Definition

pica

noun
pi·​ca ˈpī-kə How to pronounce pica (audio)
: 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

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