1690s, "eating to excess," medical Latin, from Greek polyphagia "excess in eating," from polyphagos "eating to excess," from polys "much" (from PIE root *pele- (1) "to fill") + phagein "to eat" (from PIE root *bhag- "to share out, apportion; to get a share"). Attested from 1890 in sense "feeding on various kinds of food." Nativized as polyphagy. Related: Polyphagic; polyphagous.
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