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miasma

[mahy-az-muh, mee-] /maɪˈæz mə, mi-/
noun, plural miasmas, miasmata
[mahy-az-muh-tuh, mee-] /maɪˈæz mə tə, mi-/ (Show IPA)
1.
noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
2.
a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.
Origin
1655-1665
1655-65; < Neo-Latin < Greek míasma stain, pollution, akin to miaínein to pollute, stain
Related forms
miasmal, miasmatic
[mahy-az-mat-ik] /ˌmaɪ æzˈmæt ɪk/ (Show IPA),
miasmatical, miasmic, adjective
unmiasmal, adjective
unmiasmatic, adjective
unmiasmatical, adjective
unmiasmic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for miasma
  • How excellent! A truly positive and helpful addition to the miasma of suspect data.
  • However, the book soon descends into a miasma of poorly applied statistics.
  • But a miasma of other dark fears soon arose, and has yet to dissipate.
  • But moments of complete lucidity occasionally cut through the miasma.
  • The miasma of toxic stink leaves you gasping, breezes batter you with filth, and even the rats look forlorn.
  • In a protracted bear market, such as the 2000-02 market miasma, redemptions can last a long time.
  • The doors slide open and a puff of refrigerated air confronts the city's summertime miasma.
  • Over time, a picture takes shape out of the miasma of secrecy.
  • And it isn't only the smears: a general miasma of personal nastiness hangs over the government.
  • Suddenly the visitors were enveloped in a foul mist, a miasma reeking of stinking fish, and worse.
British Dictionary definitions for miasma

miasma

/mɪˈæzmə/
noun (pl) -mata (-mətə), -mas
1.
an unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
2.
pollution in the atmosphere, esp noxious vapours from decomposing organic matter
Derived Forms
miasmal, miasmatic (ˌmiːəzˈmætɪk), miasmatical, miasmic, adjective
Word Origin
C17: New Latin, from Greek: defilement, from miainein to defile
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for miasma
n.

1660s, from Modern Latin miasma "noxious vapors," from Greek miasma (genitive miasmatos) "stain, pollution, defilement, taint of guilt," from stem of miainein "to pollute," from possible PIE root *mai- "to stain, soil, defile" (cf. Old English mal "stain, mark," see mole (n.1)). Earlier form was miasm (1640s), from French miasme. Related: Miasmatic; miasmal.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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