zerophagy - not in OED (or should it be xerophagy?)

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Nov 19 18:47:01 UTC 2009

Is the "zerophagy" below something new, or the author's/printer's
spelling of  (or error for) "xerophagy"?

Edward E. Bourne
_The History of Wells and Kennebunk ..._
Portland: B. Thurston, 1875.
p. 126.

[Describing the primitiveness of the early settlers circa the 1660s,
and the laws of the time.]

Every man's volitions or actions were prescribed by some rule, which
would establish a dead uniformity through all the features and
activities of human society.  They denounced all manifestations of
human taste, all exhibitions of peculiar thought, all attempts to
imitate the beautiful in nature, or to break up the monotony which
these wiseacres deemed the only acceptable service of the good
Providence. A zerophagy, spiritual as well as material, was to be the
regular canon of life.

[For those wishing more context,  available in Google Books, full text.]

No spellings of "zerophag*' in the OED.

The closest I can come in the above quotation to "xerophagy", "The
eating of dry food, esp. as form of fasting practised in the early
church" (OED), is a figurative extension of it emanating from
Bourne's use of the word "taste" (also in a figurative sense) in the
previous sentence.  A Google search turns up a few (41 becoming 11)
hits for "zerography" used for (i.e., as the spelling of)
"xerography", including a Roget.



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