One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An influence or principle thought of as pervading the natural world and responsible for the phenomena of animal magnetism; animal magnetism regarded as arising from this. Now historical.
2The (supposed) production of disease by miasma from the soil or by other local miasmatic sources; disease (supposedly) produced in this way, specifically malaria. Compare paludism. Now historical and rare.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Encyclopedia Americana. From classical Latin tellūr-, tellūs earth + -ism.
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