The obscure word of the week is poltophagy

This week’s obscure English word is poltophagy. It means the act of chewing food until it is reduced to a porridge-like consistency.

This was once popular in the late nineteenth century and into the early twentieth, when US food writer Horace Fletcher advocated chewing each mouthful more than 30 times. This, he insisted, could cure everything from alcoholism to obesity. The fad was known sometimes as ‘Fletcherism’ or often ‘chew chew’, which was probably better than what happened to Fletcher himself: he became known as the ‘great masticator’. I keep thinking that it was probably intended as a homonym.

Your challenge: write a sentence or two in the comments using this word.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2022


One thought on “The obscure word of the week is poltophagy

  1. The “masticator homonym” joke reminds me a little bit of Derrida, Foucault, Freud, and the idea that whatever is said is not only a substitution for something that cannot be said (because of social, ideological, or even grammatical rules and mores), but even implies its Other (capital O intended). You may say that “it’s just a joke”, but one of my favourite aphorisms from Nietzsche is that “a joke is an aphorism on the death of a feeling.” How’s that for some poltaphagous intellectualising?

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