Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In case you didn't know...

I have a new favorite word.

I used it in my previous post regarding our German adventures in recycling (a.k.a. Avoiding a bloody and untimely death at the hands of our otherwise pleasant apartment caretaker) after reading it in one of my all time favorite blogs, The Underwear Drawer. My delightful friend Sara, who has a fantastic cooking blog herself, pointed me toward The Underwear Drawer lo, these many years ago, and ever since I've been saving it in my bookmarks as other names, lest anyone get the wrong idea of the types of sites I patronize.

Anyway, the new favorite word is "miasma" (how great is that! The word alone is a masterpiece of modern linguistics. Meee-aaazzzzz-maaa. It could be its own sentence.), and can really best be described visually.

Miasma: A heavy vaporous emanation or atmosphere OR a poisonous vapor or mist with particles from decomposed matter that cause illness and which is identified by its foul smell.

I should say that the second definition is linked to an outdated scientific theory that the miasma described was the basis for illness- a notion that has been replaced by the current, and presumably more accurate, theory that disease is caused by germs. Personally, I like the second definition better and can just imagine scientists of yore on the constant lookout for green swirling clouds of putrid decay waiting to infect their bodies with whatever form of horror the particles harbor. Scientifically valid or not, if I ever encounter a waft of odor so foul that it is actually visible, you can bet I will make haste to the nearest Bath and Body Works to bathe myself in antibacterial sanitizing gel.

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