1A noxious gas emanating from something, especially from the earth.
- 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.
1.1A foul or poisonous stench.
- Skunks are called Mephitis mephitis, or ‘bad odour, bad odour’.
- The mephitis was so unbearable to the hunters, that they unanimously resolved to give up their life-long hobby, become vegetarians, and pick up golf instead.
Early 18th century: from Latin.
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