Pica vs. Pika

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Pica and pika are two words that are pronounced the same way but are spelled differently and have different meanings. They are homophones. We will examine the definitions of pica and pika, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Pica has two different definitions. The first meaning of pica is a unit of size in typography, equal to about ten characters per inch. The second meaning of pica is a disease that causes the sufferer to crave eating dirt, clay or plaster. This disease is most often seen in children or pregnant women and may be caused by physical or psychological problems. The word pica is derived from the Latin word pica which means magpie.

A pika is an Asian animal that is related to the rabbit, found in mountains and deserts. Pikas are herbivores and are most active during the day and at twilight. The word pika is taken from the word piika, which is a Tungus word. Tungus is spoken by people who primarily inhabit Siberia.


Pica, well-defined medically as the persistent eating of non-nutritive substances for at least one month, has been found to exist among children with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) but the relationship between the eating disorder with SCD remains rarely talked about. (The Citizen)

She developed an anxiety-induced Pica eating disorder, gnawing on wood splinters from her bed and chewing holes in sheets and denim dungarees. (USA Today)

Pikas, like all lagomorphs, have four upper incisors that continue to grow throughout their life. (The Finger Lakes Times)

Identified as ‘Ochotona sikimaria’ — the new pika species was discovered by the study based on genetic data and skull measurements. (The Indian Express)

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