Definition of mephitis in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /məˈfīdəs/


1A noxious gas emanating from something, especially from the earth.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: me·phi·tis

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.