pica

Pica is a disorder that makes people want to eat things that aren't food. If you have a strange craving for plaster or seashells, you may have pica.

While pica is sometimes a psychological disorder, it's often caused by a nutritional deficiency. A person who's getting much less iron (or some other necessary mineral) in their diet than they need might crave things like dirt or stones. Pica can be dangerous, since the objects sufferers eat can poison them, like paint chips containing lead, or cause a blockage in their intestines. In Latin, pica means "magpie," a bird that eats a wide variety of foods.

Primary Meanings of pica

1.
n
an eating disorder, frequent in children, in which non-nutritional objects are eaten persistently
2.
n
a linear unit (1/6 inch) used in printing
Full Definitions of pica
1

n an eating disorder, frequent in children, in which non-nutritional objects are eaten persistently

Types:
geophagia, geophagy
eating earth, clay, chalk; occurs in some primitive tribes, sometimes in cases of nutritional deficiency or obsessive behavior
Type of:
eating disorder
a disorder of the normal eating routine
2

n a linear unit (1/6 inch) used in printing

Synonyms:
em, pica em
Type of:
linear measure, linear unit
a unit of measurement of length