Definition of effluvium in English:


Pronunciation /əˈflo͞ovēəm/ /əˈfluviəm/

See synonyms for effluvium on


  • An unpleasant or harmful odor, secretion, or discharge.

    ‘the unwholesome effluvia of decaying vegetable matter’
    • ‘This poor attempt at levity earned me the usual blank look of incomprehension, so I was forced to abandon the oblique approach and ask directly about the offensive effluvium befouling our happy home.’
    • ‘Corn merchant William Mattock said it was an excellent scheme and pointed out that in 1902 offensive and dangerous effluvia had risen from the sewers and incidents of diphtheria had risen significantly.’
    • ‘The bonfires can be seen burning at various times throughout the day and night, with the resulting nauseous effluvia blowing towards the two local schools and several housing estates.’
    • ‘Much of the supply came downstream from a sewage outlet, which received effluvia from not only households, but abattoirs, hospitals, tanneries and the like.’
    • ‘Although who knows what historians in the next Millenium will conclude after studying the effluvium we leave behind.’
    • ‘Epidemical fevers and fluxes, which fill the ship with noisome and noxious effluvia, often break out, and infect the seamen likewise, and thus the oppressors, and the oppressed, fall by the same stroke.’
    • ‘Now, added to the natural body odors of the tight-packed building was a whole new menagerie of effluvia generated by excitement and fatigue.’
    • ‘At least since the early 19th century, physicians have been concerned about the mental effects of industrial effluvia.’
    • ‘The air already smelled of a range of human effluvia plus some of their delicate sweat.’
    • ‘Soon bodily effluvia and contaminated clothing are everywhere in Sunderland, and so is the epidemic.’
    squandering, dissipation, frittering away, misspending, misuse, misapplication, misemployment, abuse


Mid 17th century from Latin, from effluere ‘flow out’.