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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for miasma
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In the age of monarchy the king lived surrounded by a miasma of intrigue.

    Creative Unity Rabindranath Tagore
  • And there is no cramp in my heart, no miasma clinging to my senses.


    John Galsworthy
  • Otherwise we run the danger of suffocation from the miasma of vulgarity.

    A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov
  • It was as if Black Dan had dissolved into a miasma, and floated off.

    Jim Charles G. D. Roberts
  • It has, it is true, absorbed thousands of elements of miasma and filthiness!

    Travels in Central Asia Arminius Vmbry
  • My windows look into the pool and draw all the miasma out of it.

    Hester, Volume 1 (of 3) Margaret Oliphant
  • 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
  • I had to when you accused me of being like our friend the miasma.

    The Man Upstairs P. G. Wodehouse
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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