One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: †a member of either of two animal groups called Zoophaga, one of gastropod molluscs, the other of marsupial mammals (obsolete). In later use more generally: an animal which feeds on other animals or on animal matter; a carnivore. Now rare.
Originally: †belonging to either of the groups called Zoophaga (obsolete). In later use: of or relating to a carnivore or meat-eater. rare.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in William Kirby (1759–1850), entomologist and naturalist. From scientific Latin Zoophaga, name of a division of gastropod molluscs and a division of carnivorous marsupials + -an.
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