Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A usually invisible emanation or exhalation, as of vapor or gas.
  • n. A byproduct or residue; waste.
  • n. The odorous fumes given off by waste or decaying matter.
  • n. An impalpable emanation; an aura.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A gaseous or vaporous emission, especially a foul-smelling one.
  • n. A condition causing the shedding of hair.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Subtile or invisible emanation; exhalation perceived by the sense of smell; especially, noisome or noxious exhalation.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A subtle or invisible exhalation; an emanation: especially applied to noxious or disagreeable exhalations: as, the effluvia from diseased bodies or putrefying animal or vegetable substances.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a foul-smelling outflow or vapor (especially a gaseous waste)

Etymologies

Latin, from effluere, to flow out; see effluent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin effluvium ("an outlet"), from effluō ("flow out or away"), from ex ("out of, from") + fluō ("flow"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A hair loss condition called telogen effluvium, which is triggered by a significant event that takes a toll on our body -- for example, childbirth, a car accident, a death of a significant other and even dramatic weight loss can prompt hair follicles to go through the death phase telogen phase.

    Anna De Souza: Can Losing Weight Hurt Your Looks?

  • You are experiencing a common problem called telogen effluvium, which is the medical term for acute hair loss due to a metabolic, hormonal or drug stress.

    Hair loss and Kimkins | The Blog of Michael R. Eades, M.D.

  • I need scarcely expatiate upon the delicate and long-continuing fragrance which this luxuriant perfume imparts to all things with which it comes in contact; it is peculiarly calculated for the drawer, writing-desk, &c. since its aroma is totally unmingled with that most disagreeable effluvium, which is ever proceeding from alcohol.

    The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 12, No. 334, October 4, 1828

  • It must be added, that, though the effluvium which is left by the footsteps of man is in general sufficient to induce lions to avoid a village, there are exceptions; so many came about our half-deserted houses at Chonuane while we were in the act of removing to Kolobeng, that the natives who remained with Mrs. Livingstone were terrified to stir out of doors in the evenings.

    Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa

  • They allow rotten timber to accumulate, and stagnant pools to remain about their houses, and from these there arises an effluvium which is most unpleasant in warm weather, which, however, they do not seem to perceive.

    A Ramble of Six Thousand Miles through the United States of America

  • Telogen effluvium, which is temporary, diffuse hair loss, commonly occurs due to stress or physical trauma, and it’s often associated with hormonal imbalances.

    Simple Skin Beauty

  • The earth-closet is an invention which relieves the most disagreeable item in domestic labor, and prevents the disagreeable and unhealthful effluvium which is almost inevitable in all family residences, The general principle of construction is somewhat like that of a water-closet, except that in place of water is used dried earth.

    American Woman's Home

  • It expresses the odour or effluvium which is constantly issuing from every animal, and especially when that animal is in more than usual exercise.

    The Dog

  • Gerald tried not to breathe in the effluvium and finally, with a mighty yank, he pulled the bone out.

    Bird Cloud

  • Together though, the variously awful odors wafted up and up in a sweet, bacterial effluvium.

    Freedom Can Wait (The First Time)

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Used along with effulgence to try to translate a Greek pun in some editions of Plato's Meno. (That's where I remember it from, at least.)

    August 14, 2008