ef·flu·vi·um | \e-ˈflü-vē-əm \
variants: or less commonly effluvia \e-ˈflü-vē-ə \
plural effluvia also effluviums

Definition of effluvium 

1 : an invisible emanation especially : an offensive exhalation or smell

2 : a by-product especially in the form of waste

Examples of effluvium in a Sentence

the effluvia from local sewage treatment plants polluting the river

Recent Examples on the Web

What’s more likely is that telogen effluvium is at play (again). Jane Chertoff, SELF, "This Is Why Your Eyebrows Are Thinner Than They Used to Be—and What to Do About It," 13 July 2018 Abrupt hormone changes can cause sudden hair loss (telogen effluvium) that recovers over about 6 months time. Jane Chertoff, SELF, "This Is Why Your Eyebrows Are Thinner Than They Used to Be—and What to Do About It," 13 July 2018 Thyroid problems: Excessive hair loss, or telogen effluvium, can be a sign that your thyroid gland is overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "WATCH: What Your Hair Is Trying to Tell You About Your Health," 29 Mar. 2018 Gradually replace the asphalt crust with permeable pavers, and construct a network of underground cisterns so that heavy rains no longer drown the sewer system and pump raw effluvium into our waterways. Justin Davidson, Daily Intelligencer, "What Is a City Street? And What Will It Become?," 18 Jan. 2018 Experts estimate that between 40 and 50 percent of women experience telogen effluvium, a.k.a. Jackie Frere, Redbook, "This Viral Video Shows the "Grossly Satisfying" Results of Post-Baby Hair Loss," 7 Dec. 2017 The heat of 1858 made the problem of London’s effluvia unignorable. Alexandra Mullen, WSJ, "The Stink That Sank London," 11 Aug. 2017 Many women who arrive in a dermatologist’s office with prior diagnoses of female pattern hair loss actually have what’s called telogen effluvium. Courtney Rubin, New York Times, "Is This Treatment the Cure for Hair Loss?," 21 Aug. 2017 GIF 2. Towels, mats, and pads A pet mat can keep hairs, dirt, and various bodily effluvia off your seats and carpet. Blake Z. Rong, Esquire, "5 Easy Ways to Get Pet Smells Out of Your Car," 11 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'effluvium.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of effluvium

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for effluvium

Latin effluvium act of flowing out, from effluere

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Last Updated

8 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for effluvium

The first known use of effluvium was in 1651

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More Definitions for effluvium


ef·flu·vi·um | \e-ˈflü-vē-əm \
plural -via\-vē-ə \ or effluviums

Medical Definition of effluvium 

: an invisible emanation especially : an offensive exhalation or smell the form effluvia often used with a singular verb

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a state of commotion or excitement

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