- noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous effluvia or germs polluting the atmosphere.
- a dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere.
Origin of miasma
Examples from the Web for miasmata
It thus aids in maintaining the balance of life, and cleanses the swamps of miasmata, thus purifying the air we breathe.Our Common Insects
Alpheus Spring Packard
The atmosphere of such a town would be like that of the country, insusceptible of the miasmata which produce yellow fever.
This quiet life of Carl's had produced a mental stagnation, from which arose all sorts of miasmata.
A film of foreign substance on the skin will inevitably become the seat of detention of miasmata and infectious vapors.
He also carried a large jar full of chlorine water, to keep off all miasmata.Madame Bovary
- an unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
- pollution in the atmosphere, esp noxious vapours from decomposing organic matter
Word Origin and History for miasmata
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.