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Difference between Dirt-eater and Dirt-eating

dirt-eater —(dated)

1. (also: clay-eater) miserable people who appease their hunger with a kind of aluminous earth:

  • Distinguished from other southerners by hookworm disease were dirt-eaters scattered in sand barrens and pine woods.

2. a contemptuous name for “poor whites” in some parts of the southern United States:

  • It rests with you whether you will take rank with the poor whites, the dirt-eaters of the South, or with the best classes of the north.

dirt-eating—a disease of the nutritive functions causing an irresistible craving to eat earth:

  • For some time past she had been addicted to dirt-eating (eating earth) … a disease, which terminates in dropsy and death.

See also: eat a peck of dirt / eat dirt.