The definition of miasma is steam rising from rotting vegetable or animal matter.
An example of miasma is vapor from a compost pile.
pl. -·mas or -·mata
- a vapor rising as from marshes or decomposing animal or vegetable matter: formerly supposed to poison and infect the air, causing malaria, etc.
- an unwholesome or befogging atmosphere, influence, etc.
Origin of miasmaModern Latin ; from Gr, pollution ; from miainein, to pollute ; from Indo-European base an unverified form mai- from source Old English mal, a spot
nounpl. mi·as·mas or mi·as·ma·ta
- A noxious atmosphere or influence: “The family affection, the family expectations, seemed to permeate the atmosphere &ellipsis; like a coiling miasma” (Louis Auchincloss).
- a. A poisonous atmosphere formerly thought to rise from swamps and putrid matter and cause disease.b. A thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation: wreathed in a miasma of cigarette smoke.
Origin of miasmaGreek, pollution, stain, from miainein, to pollute.
- mi·as′mal, mi′as·mat′ic , mi·as′mic
(plural miasmas or miasmata)
First attested in 1665. From Ancient Greek Î¼Î¯Î±ÏƒÎ¼Î± (miasma) (miasma) "stain, pollution".