from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A noxious atmosphere or influence: "The family affection, the family expectations, seemed to permeate the atmosphere . . . like a coiling miasma” ( Louis Auchincloss).
- n. A poisonous atmosphere formerly thought to rise from swamps and putrid matter and cause disease.
- n. A thick vaporous atmosphere or emanation: wreathed in a miasma of cigarette smoke.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A noxious atmosphere or influence.
- n. A noxious atmosphere or emanation once thought to originate from swamps and waste to cause disease.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Infectious particles or germs floating in the air; air made noxious by the presence of such particles or germs; noxious effluvia; malaria.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The emanations or effluvia arising from the ground and floating in the atmosphere, considered to be infectious or otherwise injurious to health; noxious emanations; malaria. Also called aërial poison.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. unhealthy vapors rising from the ground or other sources
- n. an unwholesome atmosphere
Again, exposition; but a key thing to consider: the Greek concept of miasma is at play here.
I find the best way to address this miasma is with a high-end programmable universal remote.
Micael Ewans, The Everyman Library, 1996), miasma is defined as: "Pollution; the word embraces both literal dirt and what we would call psychic pollution incurred by breaches of taboo, e.e. bloodshed."
It is impossible to have such an awful sewer of iniquity sending up its miasma, which is wafted by the winds north, south, east, and west, without the whole land being affected by it.
In areas where there are monsters milling about, a dark vortex -- known as the miasma stream -- needs to be sealed to prevent more monsters from appearing.
Actually I think there is scope here for investigating nomology as a non-scientific sense of possibility, investigating the way beliefs in Natural, Social or Divine order might also have functioned (and might still do) to construct "laws of reality" -- looking at the ancient concept of "miasma" as a breaching of those laws, for example, and a breaching that is integral to the narratives of Greek Tragedy.
Doubtful that communicable diseases spread via "miasma"; that is, through the inhalation of "bad" air -- yet faced with a scientific community still skeptical of modern germ theory and pathology -- John Snow first proposed the idea that cholera was spread by a waterborne pathogen in 1849.
It was the first time a city had grown so big, and while it had a rudimentary idea of a public health system, this system was based on the "miasma" theory of disease: that illness was the result of smelling bad smells.
The idea of the "miasma", the metaphoric association of morality with dirt, disease, infection, an "evil influence", was with us even in the supposedly more enlightened secular field of medicine, right up until micro-biology made it obsolete.
Given that the notion of being morally unclean goes back at least to the Hittites, and that the Greeks had their own version in the shape of "miasma", I smell a root metaphor here, one shared by polytheist and monotheist cultures alike.