A more specific meaning of may be derived from the noun which in the modern Greek dialect of Epirus indicates some type of disease that leaves the scalp at least partially bare of its hair. It is often used with words such as psoriasis, or meaning, possibly, a disease caused by a type of ringworm which destroys the hair of the scalp. At present it is still used in mostly derogatory expressions, or in curses, such as: ‘Psoriasis and ringworm have eaten him up’ or, ‘May psoriasis and ringworm eat you up!’
In the Odyssey, where the word occurs, Odysseus, disguised by Athena as a wretched old beggar, is also deprived of his hair. This may perhaps have caused the inference to the ringworm disease and / or baldness in both passages where the epithet appears in Homer.