plural miasmas, miasmata (my-AZ-muh-tuh, mee-)
1. Noxious emissions: smoke, vapors, etc., especially those from decaying organic matter.
2. An oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere.
Earlier it was believed that many diseases were caused by bad air from decomposing organic matter, as in a swamp. Malaria, for example, is named from Italian mala aria (bad air). The germ theory of disease has put the bad air theory to rest.
From Greek miasma (pollution, defilement), from miainein (to pollute). Earliest documented use: 1665.
“A miasma of smoke from wildfires cloaked the sweltering Russian capital.”
Jim Heintz; Fires Lay Ghostly Shroud of Smoke on Moscow; Associated Press (New York); Aug 6, 2010.
“The region is still wobbling in the miasma of corruption.”
Bobi Odiko; Region Still Wobbling in Corruption; East African Business Week (Tanzania); Aug 4, 2010.
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