Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage

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Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage With Examples

The suffix (-phagia) refers to the act of eating or swallowing. Related suffixes include (-phage), (-phagic), and (-phagy). Here are examples:

Suffix Phagia

Aerophagia (aero - phagia): the act of swallowing excessive amounts of air. This can lead to digestive system discomfort, bloating, and intestinal pain.

Allotriophagia (allo - trio - phagia): a disorder that involves the compulsion to eat non-food substances. Also known as pica, this tendency is sometimes associated with pregnancy, autism, mental retardation, and religious ceremonies.

Amylophagia (amylo - phagia): the compulsion to eat excessive amounts of starch or foods rich in carbohydrates.

Aphagia (a - phagia): the loss of the ability to swallow, typically associated with a disease. It can also mean refusal to swallow or the inability to eat.

Dysphagia (dys - phagia): difficultly in swallowing, typically associated with disease. It can be caused by spasms or obstructions.

Geophagia (geo - phagia): a term that refers to the eating of earth substances especially chalky or clay substances.

Hyperphagia (hyper - phagia): an abnormal condition that results in an overactive appetite and overactive consumption of food. It can be a result of a brain injury.

Omophagia (omo - phagia): the act of eating raw meat.

Polyphagia (poly - phagia): a zoological term that refers to an organism that feeds on a number of different types of food.

Suffix Phage

Bacteriophage (bacterio - phage): a virus that infects and destroys bacteria. Also known as phages, these viruses typically only infect a specific strain of bacteria.

Coliphage (coli - phage): a bacteriophage that specifically infects the E. coli bacteria. The family Leviviridae of viruses is one such example of coliphages.

Foliophage (folio - phage): refers to an organism that has as its primary source of food, leaves.

Ichthyophage (ichthyo - phage): refers to an organism that consumes fish.

Macrophage (macro - phage): a large white blood cell that engulfs and destroys bacteria and other foreign substances in the body. The process by which these substances are internalized, broken down, and disposed of is known as phagocytosis.

Microphage (micro - phage): a small white blood cell known as a neutrophil that is capable of destroying bacteria and other foreign substances by phagocytosis.

Mycophage (myco - phage): an organism that feeds on fungi or a virus that infects fungi.

Prophage (pro - phage): viral, bacteriophage genes that have been inserted into the bacterial chromosome of an infected bacterial cell by genetic recombination.

Vitellophage (vitello - phage): a class or type of cell, typically in the eggs of some insects or arachnids, that isn't a part of embryo formation.

Suffix Phagy

Adephagy (ade - phagy): referring to gluttonous or excessive eating. Adephagia was the Greek goddess of gluttony and greed.

Anthropophagy (anthropo - phagy): a term that refers to an individual that eats the flesh of another human. In other words, a cannibal.

Coprophagy (copro - phagy): the act of eating feces. This is common among animals, especially insects.

Geophagy (geo - phagy): the act of eating dirt or soil substances such as clay.

Monophagy (mono - phagy): the feeding of an organism on a single type of food source. Some insects, for example, will only feed on a specific plant. (Monarch caterpillars only feed on milkweed plants.)

Oligophagy (oligo - phagy): feeding on a small number of specific food sources.

Oophagy (oo - phagy): behavior exhibited by embryos of feeding on female gametes (eggs). This occurs in some sharks, fish, amphibians, and snakes.

Suffixes -Phagia and -Phage Word Dissection

Biology is a complicated subject. By understanding 'word dissections', students are able to understand biological concepts, no matter how complicated. Now that you are well versed in words that end with -phagia and -phage, you should be able to perform a 'dissection' for other related biology words.

Additional Biology Prefixes and Suffixes

For additional information about other biology prefixes and suffixes, see:

Biology Word Dissections - Do you know what pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is?

Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: phago- or phag- - The prefix (phago- or phag-) refers to eating, consuming, or destroying. It comes from the Greek word phagein, which means to consume.


  • Reece, Jane B., and Neil A. Campbell. Campbell Biology. Benjamin Cummings, 2011. 
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Bailey, Regina. "Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage." ThoughtCo, Aug. 25, 2020, Bailey, Regina. (2020, August 25). Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage. Retrieved from Bailey, Regina. "Biology Suffixes Phagia and Phage." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).