cannibalism image from New Medical Terms



The eating of the flesh of one human by another

Types of Cannibalism 

Symbolic Surrogate flesh, e.g., bread wafers, is consumed–religious, Western-style cannibalism* 

*Although not known as cannibalism, the “eating” of the body of Christ, as practiced by Christians, derives from certain practices by the ancient Greeks, in which blood or body parts from priests were consumed; the sacrament of the Eucharist, is believed by some to originate in eucharistia, Greek, for gratitude

Dietary/gastronomic Eating of people for food*; the buttocks is said to be the most palatable

*Lending new meaning to the phrase finger food

Reference Discover 3/87, p70

Ritualistic Actual flesh is consumed, divided into 

• Endo-cannibalism–Consumption of a blood relative* respected and loved in life

*Pun potential duly noted and nobly ignored; per the Fore tribesmen, the custom was not driven so much by ritual, as by the fact that the dead were regarded as delicious

• Exo-cannibalism–flesh of those outside of one’s tribe were eaten, the most popular donors being ‘…fallen warriors, medicine men, and virgins, to gain, respectively, bravery, wisdom, and purity.’

C Panati, Extraordinary Endings of Practically Everything and Everybody, Harper& Row, 1989 

Necessity Survival cannibalism 


A term of art used in cytology for the partial or complete engulfing of one malignant cell by another, a not uncommon finding in adenocarcinoma cells found in pleural and peritoneal effusions.  

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