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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 miasmic
Historical Examples
  • You have spoken of miasmic mists that hung below the level of the tree-tops.

    The Thing from the Lake

    Eleanor M. Ingram
  • The mists arising from earth are only miasmic vapours after all!

    Station Amusements Lady Barker
  • And over all, rising from pools and bare ground and jungle alike, was a thin, miasmic mist.

  • But on account of the low, mean lives so many are living, they never rise above the miasmic contagion of the sin and self level.

    Life in a Thousand Worlds

    William Shuler Harris
  • Just beyond Long Island a low stratum of miasmic gray was the only shred of the usual fog to be seen on the whole horizon.

    The Harbor of Doubt Frank Williams
  • He had not felt equably well since the night of Gabriel's burial in the miasmic air of the mountain.

  • Farrell followed him reluctantly outside into a miasmic desolation more depressing than he could have imagined.

    Pet Farm Roger Dee
  • Day after day they pushed forward, skirting at times the edge of miasmic swamps, and generally sticking to the desolate plain.

    The Rogue Elephant Elliott Whitney
  • An air of desolation seemed to hang above the scene like the miasmic vapors from some foul swamp.

    The Return of Tharn Howard Carleton Browne
  • A miasmic odor of damp decay seemed to increase in strength the further below the earth's surface he progressed.

    The Return of Tharn Howard Carleton Browne
British Dictionary definitions for miasmic


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 miasmic



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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