miasma was our Word of the Day on 10/15/2015. Hear the podcast!
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Recent Examples of miasma from the Web
Erichsen believed the prevalent theory that infections came from miasma, or poisons in the air that arose from rot and decay.
There is a vacuum—a miasma of confusion and chaos—at the top of the civilian command.
Haze: mist, fog, miasma, cloud, vapor, smog, smoke.
The problem was not miasma but the lack of basic cleanliness.
Fitzharris: There are doctors and surgeons who are starting to question the existing disease explanation, which is miasma theory—that is, disease is caused by bad smells.
One result is a miasma of distrust of all public speech.
There are a lot of weird choices within the miasma of virtually indistinguishable shots of Trump looking president-ish in his suit and chair and office.
On a hillside above the Russian River, a broad and menacing band of fire is turning a blue sky into a gray miasma of soot.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'miasma.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
In notes taken during a voyage to South America on HMS Beagle in the 1830s, Charles Darwin described an illness that he believed was caused by "miasma" emanating from stagnant pools of water. For him, "miasma" had the same meaning that it did when it first appeared in English in the 1600s: an emanation of a vaporous disease-causing substance. ("Miasma," by the way, comes from Greek miainein, meaning "to pollute.") But while Darwin was at sea, broader applications of "miasma" were starting to spread. Nowadays, we know germs are the source of infection, so we're more likely to use the newer, more figurative sense of "miasma," which refers to something destructive or demoralizing that surrounds or permeates.
Origin and Etymology of miasma
First Known Use: 1665See Words from the same year
MIASMA Defined for English Language Learners
medical Definition of miasma
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