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Picture of Kalleh
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In the book "Nickle and Dimed", which I highly recommend, the author (a reporter) used some very interesting words. One of them was mephitic, which my dictionary defines as, "resembling mephitis; poisonous or foul smelling". In my book it was used as, "At eight, Ellen and I grab a snack together at the mephitic end of the kitchen counter". Now--does that mean the kitchen has a foul stench???? How have you seen this word used?
 
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Picture of Kalleh
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I know, it is quite lame to reply to your own post, but since no one else did (sob!), I will. I googled up mephitis and found that it is commonly called the striped skunk. Since I don't know how to put links on here yet, I will write it out: www.siskiyous.edu/shasta/env/fauna/carni.htm Thus the stench! My dictionary doesn't mention skunk, but says mephitis is a "noxious or foul exhalation from the earth". I haven't found that on google yet. Does anyone know anything about that?
 
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Your link works just fine, kalleh.

Haven't looked this up yet, but I'd bet that mephitic is related to Mephistopheles, the Devil. But it does seem that mephitic is used regarding foul odors from the earth; that is, from the underground underworld. One source gives as example, "The tomb door creaked open, liberating a gust of mephitic air."

Also, some chemical substance was known, 200+ years ago, as mephitic acid. www.mit.edu/~dfm/genealogy/medreg.html, last paragraph. I don't know what substance that was.

Interestingly, it seems that although mephitic and miasma both concern foul emanations from the earth, are not related terms (contrary to what I'd guessed). My dictionary says the fromer comes from latin mephitis, and the latter from greek miainein, to pollute.
 
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Thanks, Embellishment. That seems to be what my dictionaries said, though, interestingly, none of them mentioned the striped skunk genus. It must have been named that because of the stench.
 
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