One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
(especially of a gas or vapour) foul-smelling; noxious.‘the cloud of mephitic vapours lingered above our heads’
foul-smelling, evil-smelling, stinking, stinking to high heaven, reeking, fetid, malodorous, pungent, acrid, rank, putrid, noxiousfoul-smelling, evil-smelling, fetid, smelly, stinking, reeking, reeky, rank, high, off, rancid, putrid, fusty, musty, stale, noxious, malodorous, ill-smellingView synonyms
- ‘The revelation gave a new frisson to such descriptions as that of Silas Wegg, stumping triumphantly over the mounds, his wooden leg puncturing the surface crust, leaving a trail of mephitic vapours behind him.’
- ‘As I delved into the brittle and mephitic pages, my skepticism dropped away like scales from my eyes.’
- ‘But why did all become so nasty in the last few years, so raucous, so mephitic?’
- ‘Black's student Daniel Rutherford called this gas mephitic air instead: mephitis is a noxious emission in legend, thought to emanate from the earth and cause pestilence.’
Early 17th century: from late Latin mephiticus, from mephitis ‘noxious exhalation’.
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