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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce miasma (audio)

Dictionary definition of miasma

A noxious or foul-smelling vapor that hangs in the air, often associated with the presence of disease, decay, or pollution.
"The sweltering heat created a miasma of sweat and humidity."

Detailed meaning of miasma

This term, derived from ancient Greek, has historically been used to describe the perceived atmospheric emanations thought to be responsible for the spread of various illnesses before the development of modern germ theory. In literature and history, miasma is commonly used metaphorically to evoke a sense of negativity, corruption, or moral decay that pervades a particular environment or situation. It carries connotations of an invisible and insidious influence that can have detrimental effects on both physical and metaphysical realms, encapsulating the notion of a pervasive and unhealthy atmosphere that can have wide-ranging implications.

Example sentences containing miasma

1. The miasma of smoke from the factory made it difficult to breathe.
2. The hospital was filled with the miasma of sickness and despair.
3. The old swamp was shrouded in a thick miasma of mist and fog.
4. The miasma of fear and uncertainty hung over the city after the disaster.
5. The decaying carcass emitted a noxious miasma that could be smelled from miles away.
6. The miasma of cigarette smoke was thick in the air of the crowded bar.

History and etymology of miasma

The noun 'miasma' has its etymology deeply rooted in ancient Greek. It originates from the Greek word 'miaino,' which means 'to pollute' or 'to defile.' In ancient times, the term 'miasma' referred to a noxious or foul-smelling vapor believed to be a form of pollution or contamination. It was often associated with stagnant water, decaying matter, and places where disease was prevalent. The concept of miasma played a significant role in early theories of disease transmission. While our understanding of disease has evolved, the term 'miasma' still carries its historical connection to foul-smelling vapors associated with decay, disease, or pollution, even though our modern understanding of disease causation has shifted away from these earlier beliefs.

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Further usage examples of miasma

1. The dark forest was said to be filled with a miasma of evil spirits.
2. The miasma of pollution in the city was a constant source of concern for residents.
3. The abandoned house was shrouded in a miasma of mystery and intrigue.
4. The stench of rotting garbage created a miasma that could be felt for blocks.
5. The ancient Greeks believed that disease was caused by miasma, or foul air.
6. The doctor wore a mask to protect herself from the miasma in the hospital.
7. The stagnant water emitted a miasma of unpleasant odors.
8. The swamps were known to be breeding grounds for miasma and disease.
9. The residents of the town complained about the miasma emanating from the nearby factory.
10. The medieval physicians associated miasma with the spread of the plague.
11. The political campaign was marred by a miasma of scandal and controversy.
12. The sewer system was designed to prevent the miasma from infiltrating the city.
13. The scientist studied the effects of miasma on the respiratory system.
14. The miasma hanging over the landfill was a health hazard for the nearby communities.
15. The Victorian era was marked by a heightened fear of miasma and the need for cleanliness.
16. The researcher discovered a correlation between miasma exposure and respiratory illnesses.
17. The town implemented measures to control the miasma, including improved sanitation.
18. The writer vividly described the miasma enveloping the dystopian city in his novel.
19. The doctor advised the patient to avoid areas with heavy miasma to prevent infection.
20. The belief in miasma slowly faded as germ theory gained prominence in the scientific community.
21. The archaeologist found evidence of miasma-related rituals in ancient civilizations.
22. The miasma from the chemical spill caused widespread panic in the local community.
23. The public health campaign aimed to educate the population about the dangers of miasma.
24. The city's urban planning incorporated green spaces to combat the miasma and improve air quality.
25. The miasma theory was eventually debunked as advancements in medical science provided a clearer understanding of disease transmission.



stench, freshness, purity, fragrance


GRE 4 (Graduate Record Examination), Vexation and Aggravation, Repugnance and Revulsion, Sensory and Perception

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