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Word of the Day
Saturday, February 07, 2004

Definitions for miasma

  1. A vaporous exhalation (as of marshes or putrid matter) formerly thought to cause disease; broadly, a thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation.
  2. A harmful or corrupting atmosphere or influence; also, an atmosphere that obscures; a fog.

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Citations for miasma
The critics, he says, "will sit in their large automobiles, spewing a miasma of toxic gas into the atmosphere, and they will thank you for not smoking a cigarette." Charles E. Little, New York Times
To destroy such prejudices, which many a time rise and spread themselves like a miasma, is an imperative duty of theory, for the misbegotten offspring of human reason can also be in turn destroyed by pure reason. Carl von Clausewitz, On War (translated by Colonel James John Graham)
Origin of miasma
Miasma comes from Greek miasma, "pollution," from miainein, "to pollute."