Word of the Day

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


\NOY-sum\ , adjective;
Noxious; harmful; unwholesome.
Offensive to the smell or other senses; disgusting.
The body politic produces noisome and unseemly substances, among which are politicians.
-- P. J. O'Rourke, "No Apparent Motive", The Atlantic, November 2002
The first flower to bloom in this latitude, when the winter frost loosens its grip upon the sod, is not the fragrant arbutus, nor the delicate hepatica, nor the waxen bloodroot, as the poets would have us think, but the gross, uncouth, and noisome skunk cabbage.
-- Alvan F. Sanborn, "New York After Paris", The Atlantic, October 1906
The most dangerous season was after the rice and indigo harvests in August and September when the waters were 'low, stagnant and corrupt' and the air made noisome with indigo plants hauled out of the water and left to rot in the fields.
-- Ronald Rees, "Under the weather: climate and disease, 1700-1900", History Today, January 1996
Noisome is from Middle English noysome, from noy, "harm," short for anoy, from Old French, from anoier, "to annoy."
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