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From the Ancient Greek βαλανηφάγος (balanēphágos, acorn-eating), from βάλανος (bálanos, acorn) + φαγ- (phag-, eat).



balanephagous (not comparable)

  1. (rare) Acorn-eating.
    • 1830, William Martin Leake, Travels in the Morea: With a Map and Plans, volume 1, chapter 11: “Messenia — Arcadia”, pages 487–488
      The man with whom we take shelter has his wife and children, and his sons’ wives and all their children, to the number of twelve or fifteen, in the tent. Milk and misíthra is their only food: “We have milk in plenty,” they tell me, “but no bread.” Such is the life of a modern Arcadian shepherd, who has almost reverted to the balanephagous state of his primitive ancestorsᵃ. The children, however, all look healthy, and are handsome, having large black eyes and regular features, with very dark complexions.
      ᵃ Ἀρκάδες Ἀζᾶνες βαλανηφάγοι, οἳ Φιγάλειαν Νάσσασθ᾽, &c. — Orac[ulum] Pyth[iæ] ap[ud] Pausan[ian de] Arcad[iâ in] c[apite] 42.
      ᵃ Azanian Arcadians, acorn-eaters, who dwell in Phigaleia, &c. — Oracle of Pythia in the writings of Pausanias on Arcadia in chapter 42.
    • 1936, Robert Harry Lowie [ed.], Essays in Anthropology: Presented to A. L. Kroeber in Celebration of His Sixtieth Birthday, June 11, 1936 (University of California Press), page 95
      The one region of the earth where balanophagy attained its richest development was aboriginal California. I say “richest,” because there the methods of ridding the acorns of the objectionable tannin were most developed and moreover many species were eaten, putting to shame the balanophagous propensities of the Arcadians.
    • 1984, Mark Nathan Cohen and George J. Armelagos [eds.], Paleopathology at the Origins of Agriculture (Academic Press; →ISBN, 9780121790806), page 440
      During the winter months, when hunting and fishing were difficult and fresh vegetal foods unavailable, consumption of stored acorn products may have exceeded that of all other foods. Thus it is hardly an exaggeration to categorize native economies of this area as balanophagous (acorn eating), or, in view of the dense populations associated with them, to consider this adaptation as paralleling in importance the development of agriculture in other areas.
    • 2004, Brian M. Fagan, Before California: An Archaeologist Looks at Our Earliest Inhabitants (Rowman Altamira; →ISBN, 9780759103740), page 145
      In earlier Milling Stone times, both men and women gathered and probably processed plant foods. Now, women shouldered the entire burden of pounding, storing, and cooking acorns. During the critical weeks of harvest, everyone — men, women, and children — worked flat out. But, once the harvest was over, acorns were women’s work. Survival literally depended on their balanophagous activities.
    • 2008, Philip J. Dreyfus, Our Better Nature: Environment and the Making of San Francisco (University of Oklahoma Press; →ISBN, 9780806139586), page 17
      The San Francisco Bay Ohlones shared the same technique of tannin leaching as employed by all the other balanophagous Californians.