Find the word definition

Crossword clues for pica

The Collaborative International Dictionary

Pica \Pi"ca\, n. [L. pica a pie, magpie; in sense 3 prob. named from some resemblance to the colors of the magpie. Cf. Pie magpie.]

  1. (Zo["o]l.) The genus that includes the magpies.

  2. (Med.) A vitiated appetite that craves what is unfit for food, as chalk, ashes, coal, etc.; chthonophagia.

  3. (R. C. Ch.) A service-book. See Pie. [Obs.]

  4. (Print.) A size of type next larger than small pica, and smaller than English.

    Note: This line is printed in pica

    Note: Pica is twice the size of nonpareil, and is used as a standard of measurement in casting leads, cutting rules, etc., and also as a standard by which to designate several larger kinds of type, as double pica, two-line pica, four-line pica, and the like.

    Small pica (Print.), a size of type next larger than long primer, and smaller than pica.

    Note: This line is printed in small pica

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"size of type of about six lines to the inch" (12 point), 1580s, probably from pica, name of a book of rules in Church of England for determining holy days (late 15c. in Anglo-Latin), probably from Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)); the book so called perhaps from the color and the "pied" look of the old type on close-printed pages. The type size was that generally used to print ordinals.


"pathological craving for substance unfit for food" (such as chalk), 1560s, from Medieval Latin pica "magpie" (see pie (n.2)), probably translating Greek kissa, kitta "magpie, jay," also "false appetite." The connecting notion may be the birds' indiscriminate feeding.


Etymology 1 n. (context medicine English) A disorder characterized by craving and appetite for non-edible substances, such as ice, clay, chalk, dirt, or sand. Etymology 2

n. 1 (context typography printing uncountable English) A size of type between small pica and English, standardized as 12-point. 2 (context typography uncountable usually with qualifier) A font of this size. 3 (context typography countable English) A unit of length equivalent to 12 points, officially (frac 35 83) cm (0.166 in) after 1886 but now (context: computing) (frac 1 6) in. 4 (context uncommon ecclesiastical) A pie or directory: the book directing Roman Catholic observance of saints' days and other feasts under various calendars. Etymology 3

n. (archaic form of pika English) (small rodent)

  1. n. a linear unit (1/6 inch) used in printing [syn: em, pica em]

  2. magpies [syn: genus Pica]

  3. eating earth or clay or chalk; occurs in some primitive tribes or sometimes in cases of nutritional deficiency [syn: geophagy, geophagia]


Pica or PICA may refer to:

Pica (disorder)

Pica is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as ice (pagophagia); hair (trichophagia); paper (papyrophagia); drywall or paint; metal (metallophagia); stones (lithophagia) or earth ( geophagia); glass (hyalophagia); or feces ( coprophagia). According to DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition) criteria, for these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate, not part of culturally sanctioned practice and sufficiently severe to warrant clinical attention. It can lead to intoxication in children, which can result in an impairment in both physical and mental development. In addition, it can also lead to surgical emergencies due to an intestinal obstruction as well as more subtle symptoms such as nutritional deficiencies and parasitosis. Pica has been linked to other mental and emotional disorders. Stressors such as emotional trauma, maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, and a disorganized family structure are strongly linked to pica as a form of comfort.

Pica is most commonly seen in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities such as autism. Children eating painted plaster containing lead may suffer brain damage from lead poisoning. There is a similar risk from eating soil near roads that existed before tetraethyllead in petrol was phased out (in some countries) or before people stopped using contaminated oil (containing toxic PCBs or dioxin) to settle dust. In addition to poisoning, there is also a much greater risk of gastro-intestinal obstruction or tearing in the stomach. Another risk of eating soil is the ingestion of animal feces and accompanying parasites. Pica can also be found in other animals and is commonly found in dogs.

Pica (genus)

Pica is the genus of two to four species of birds in the family Corvidae in both the New World and the Old. The genus name Pica is derived from the Latin name for the Eurasian magpie.

They have long tails and have predominantly black and white markings. One species ranges widely from Europe through Asia, one occurs in western North America and the third is restricted to California. They are usually considered closely related to the blue and green magpies of Asia, but recent research suggests their closest relatives are instead the Eurasian crows.

Two or three species were generally recognized, the Yellow-billed and one or two black-billed ones. Recent research has cast doubt on the taxonomy of the Pica magpies. P. hudsonia and P. nuttalli are each other's closest relatives, but may not be different species. If they are, however, at least the Korean race of P. pica would have to be considered a separate species, too.

  • Eurasian magpie, Pica pica – Europe and Asia
    • Korean magpie, Pica (pica) sericea – eastern Asia
  • Yellow-billed magpie, Pica nuttalli – California
  • Black-billed magpie, Pica hudsonia – western half of North America

A prehistoric species of Pica, Pica mourerae, is known from fossils found in Pliocene– Pleistocene boundary strata on Mallorca.

Pica (typography)

The pica is a typographic unit of measure corresponding to approximate of a foot, or of an inch. Actually a new english Pica was in 1886 defined as .1660 of an inch. Actually this measure was based on the meter: 166 Nonparel equals 35 centimeters.

The pica contains 12 point units of measure. .1660 inch.

The first point-system was designed in 1737 by Pierre Simon Fournier le Jeune (1712–1768). The basis was the Paris foot. 1 foot = 12 thumbs, 1 thumb = 12 stripes, 1 stripe = 6 points.

Around 1780 François-Ambroise "L'éclat" Didot (1730–1804) changed the typographic measures system. Now the larger French Kings Foot was taken as the basis. 12 point Didot equals .1776 inch.

The traditional names for the sizes like cicéro, Petit-Roman, and Gros-Text were replaced by "ten-point", "twelve-point", etc. From that time all work printer before the French Court or French Government had to be printed in this new measurements. As a result this system was accepted more and more. Until the end of commercial letterpress, around 1970 there were still printers using the old Fournier sizes. Monotype moulds Fournier-sized were also available. Because 12 point Fourniers equals 11 point Didot the Fournier-system was wrongly referred as the "Median-system".

The old English Pica was defined as .1667". Monotype made wedges based on both Pica-systems, On the European continent the wedges were based on the old-Pica, and the wedges are marked with an extra E. The tables in English manuals differ subsequently from the tables you find in the French, German, Dutch manuals.

To date, in printing these three pica measures are used:

  • The French pica of 12 Didot points (also called cicéro) generally is: 12 × 0.376 = 4.512 mm (0.1776 in).
  • The American pica measure of 0.013837 ft. ( ft). Thus, a pica is 0.166044 in. (4.2175 mm)
  • The contemporary computer pica is of the International foot of 1959, i.e. 4.233 mm or 0.166 in.

Note that these definitions are different from a typewriter's pica setting, which denotes a type size of ten characters per horizontal inch.

Usually, pica measurements are represented with an upper-case "P" with an upper-right-to-lower-left virgule (slash) starting in the upper right portion of the "P" and ending at the lower left of the upright portion of the "P"; essentially drawing a virgule ( / ) through a "P". (P̸) Likewise, points are represented with number of points before a lower-case "p", for example, 5p represents "5 points", and 6P̸2p represents "6 picas and 2 points", and 1P̸1 represents "13 points", which is converted to a mixed fraction of 1 pica and 1 point.

Publishing applications such as Adobe InDesign and QuarkXPress represent pica measurements with whole-number picas left of a lower-case "p", followed by the points number, for example: 5p6, represents 5 picas and 6 points, or 5½ picas.

Cascading Style Sheets defined by the World Wide Web Consortium use "pc" as the abbreviation for pica (1/6 of an inch), and "pt" for point (1/72 of an inch).

Usage examples of "pica".

The three were sitting in the smoky shadows of the Mos Eisley Cantina, sipping green Pica Thundercloud and watching the bounty hunters drift in from around the galaxy: Weequays, Aqualish, Arcona, Defels, Kauronians, Fneebs, Quill-heads, Bomodons, Alpheridians - and the inevitable Ganks.

Sus articulaciones crujieron como bisagras oxidadas cuando los gigantes recogieron sus picas y sus alabardas y se pusieron de pie.

Men had always pushed forward across Pica as they pleased, not least because sims lacked the bns to fight back.

Junto a ellos había alabardas y picas con hojas de cobre apoyadas sobre las paredes o tiradas en el suelo.

But after no more than a moment's gravity he joined in the general congratulation and then told them (not without a certain satisfaction, having suffered much from cat-harpins and nether dog-pawls) that pica was the type that gave you six ems to the inch, and that all books, folio, quarto, octavo, duodecimo or even less, took their dimensions from the original sheets, folded twice, four times, eight times and so on, as the case might be, the original sheets having themselves various sizes and names, as foolscap, crown, quad crown, double quad crown, post, demy, royal and many more.