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Which word entered English first: anorexia or bulimia?




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Answer: anorexia

The first OED citation for anorexia - which denotes a want of proper appetite - is from 1650, whereas the first for bulimia - morbid hunger - is from 1976.

1650 Baxter Saints Rest iv. vi, These are sick of the anorexia, and apepsy, they have neither appetite nor digestion.

1976 Sci. Amer. Apr. 80/3 After about two years a second phase [of anorexia], called bulimia, usually develops, in which the victim alternately fasts and gorges herself.

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