[mahy-az-muh, mee-]

noun, plural mi·as·mas, mi·as·ma·ta [mahy-az-muh-tuh, mee-] /maɪˈæz mə tə, mi-/.

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 formsmi·as·mal, mi·as·mat·ic [mahy-az-mat-ik] /ˌmaɪ æzˈmæt ɪk/, mi·as·mat·i·cal, mi·as·mic, adjectiveun·mi·as·mal, adjectiveun·mi·as·mat·ic, adjectiveun·mi·as·mat·i·cal, adjectiveun·mi·as·mic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for miasmic

Historical Examples of miasmic

  • 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!

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for miasmic


noun plural -mata (-mətə) or -mas

an unwholesome or oppressive atmosphere
pollution in the atmosphere, esp noxious vapours from decomposing organic matter
Derived Formsmiasmal, miasmatic (ˌmiːəzˈmætɪk), miasmatical or miasmic, adjective

Word Origin for miasma

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

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