One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
An animal belonging to any of various taxonomic groups called Phyllophaga and characterized as feeding on leaves, specifically: (a) a group of edentate mammals, comprising the extant and fossil sloths; †(b) a group of marsupials, including the phalangers, flying phalangers, and koalas (obsolete); †(c) a group of scarabaeoid beetles, including the chafers (obsolete).
Of, relating to, or characteristic of the mammalian suborder Phyllophaga, comprising the sloths.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William T. Brande (1788–1866), chemist. From scientific Latin Phyllophaga + -an.
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