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Occasionally, I find myself writing about stories (especially children's stories) where there is a theme of eating characters. For example, Little Red Riding Hood is eaten by the Wolf, and Peter Rabbit's Father was put into a pie. Is there a specific word for this kind of consumption? I don't think "eat" or any of its conjugations really work since the animals are anthropomorphized, but I still don't feel "cannibalism" is the right word either.

  • lycanthro-cue – Greg Lee Jul 30 '15 at 20:00
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    Lycanthropophagy, perhaps? – John Lawler Jul 30 '15 at 20:01
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    Why doesn't "eat" work??? – curiousdannii Jul 31 '15 at 0:59
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    I believe the wolf says "delicious", at least after eating Riding Hood. Grandma, on the other hand, he found kind of gristly. – Hot Licks Jul 31 '15 at 1:50
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The word "anthropophagy" is usually used as a synonym for "cannibalism", but since it literally means "man-eating", one might argue that it technically applies to any creature that eats humans. Indeed, oxforddictionaries.com uses the related word "anthropophagous" to apply to a clam in this example sentence:

The giant clam is not anthropophagous, nor indeed carnivorous.

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devour
verb
eat (food or prey) hungrily or quickly.
"he devoured half of his burger in one bite"

consume (someone or something) destructively.
"the hungry flames devoured the old house"

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If it is anthropomorphized it has human characteristics, so all words that are used for humans apply to the wolf or rabbit. Cannibalism is used for eating same species only. If you use a special word, then you would be taking the story out of the world of anthropomorphism and would be telling the reader "I'm just pretending." It would be inconsistent. You would be destroying the illusion.

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