Word of the Day: Effluvium

I came across my word of the day last night in the book I’m currently reading for a little book club a few girls and I are starting. The book (which is wonderful so far) is Still Life with Woodpecker, by Tom Robbins. The word appeared in a pretty silly passage, as you will read below.



  1. A slight or invisible exhalation or vapor, especially one that is disagreeable or noxious.

The thesaurus likens this word to “London Fog,” “brume” and “emanation,” which don’t exactly seem to align with the definition provided, so you can understand my confusion.

Used in a sentence from Tom Robbin’s “Still Life with Woodpecker”: She had attended, in America, so m any second-rate society teas, charity fashion shows, and gala this and gala thats, that she’d begun to exude a kind of pate de fois gras gas, and the expulsion of this effluvium propelled her from party to ball as if she were a sausage skin inflated by Wagner. (pretty great sentence, huh?)

Definition via thefreedictionary.com. Illustration by me.

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