Weekly Word: Miasma

Original photo by offstandard

I discovered this word while searching for an example sentence for otiose last week: “I will not be drawn into the miasma of premature analysis and debate, an otiose exercise” (David Hayford). The noun miasma has a couple definitions:

  1. "A dangerous, foreboding, or deathlike influence or atmosphere"
  2. "A poisonous atmosphere formerly thought to rise from swamps and putrid matter and cause disease"
  3. "A thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation"

The example sentence I found last week makes good use of miasma’s first definition, which appears to be the most common usage now that the miasma theory of disease has proven false.