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[mahy-az-muh, mee-] /maɪˈæz mə, mi-/
noun, plural miasmas, miasmata
[mahy-az-muh-tuh, mee-] /maɪˈæz mə tə, mi-/ (Show IPA)
noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.
Origin of miasma
1655-65; < New 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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for miasma
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet, with all its miasma, this backwater district has sent many a good man back to the main Road, which we all try to travel.

    My Life Josiah Flynt
  • In the age of monarchy the king lived surrounded by a miasma of intrigue.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • The cold chills ran over me, as if I had been under the influence of miasma.'

    The Kentuckian in New-York, Volume I (of 2) William Alexander Caruthers
  • It was as if Black Dan had dissolved into a miasma, and floated off.

    Jim Charles G. D. Roberts
  • He would not afflict her with that miasma of doubts and fears which had sickened him.

    The Hidden Places Bertrand W. Sinclair
  • My windows look into the pool and draw all the miasma out of it.

    Hester, Volume 1 (of 3) Margaret Oliphant
  • But the miasma carried no distance, and there was nobody to complain about it except Mrs. Fuzzey, who didn't mind.

    Furze the Cruel John Trevena
  • But, nevertheless, I am not so overcome by the miasma but what I can tell you how truly I love you.

    The Small House at Allington Anthony Trollope
British Dictionary definitions for miasma


noun (pl) -mata (-mətə), -mas
an unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
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

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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