Page 12 of The New York Times Everyday Reader’s Dictionary of Misunderstood, Misused, and Mispronounced Words: Revised Edition was even worse than page 11. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Page 11 had the ante- words; page 12 thus had the anti- words. But I picked a word that came in between: anthropophagi.
Not Really Anthropophagi
Before we get to the word, I suppose I should point out that the word should not be “anthropophagi.” It should be “anthropophaguses.” This business has got to stop! We take English language words that are based on Greek words and create plurals based on Latin grammar?! What’s with that?! The Greek word isn’t “anthropophagus” anyway; it is “ανθρωποφάγος”! And where Latin fits in, I can’t say.
An unrelated issue: “antihero” is on the same page. The book claims that such a character lacks all heroic attributes and noble qualities. That was doubtless how the word was originally used. But by the time this dictionary came out, it was not used in that way at all.
Anyway, on to anthropophagi:
Date: mid 16th century.
Origin: Greek, άνθρωπος (man) and φάγος (eat).
It was my hint to speak, such was the process;
And of the Cannibals that each other eat,
The anthropophagi and men whose heads
Do grow beneath their shoulders.
—William Shakespeare (Othello)
Note that anthropophagus is normally used for folklore cannibals, as in the image above.