• WordNet 3.6
    • n Mephitis in some classifications: type genus of the subfamily Mephitinae
    • n mephitis a distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant
    • n mephitis a poisonous or foul smelling gas emitted from the earth
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Mephitis (Zoöl) A genus of mammals, including the skunks.
    • Mephitis Noxious, pestilential, or foul exhalations from decomposing substances, filth, or other source.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n mephitis A pestilential exhalation, especially from the earth; any noxious or ill-smelling emanation, as from putrid or filthy substances; a noisome or poisonous stench.
    • n mephitis [capitalized] [NL.] A genus of skunks, typical of the subfamily Mephitinæ. The teeth are 34 in number, 16 above and 18 below. The pelage is very long, the tail long and very bushy, and the coloration black, striped or spotted with white. The palate ends opposite the last molar; the mastoid process is flaring; the periotics are not much inflated; the zygoma rises backward; and the profile of the skull is highest over the orbits. The nostrils are lateral, and the soles hairy, at least in part. There are several species, of North and Central Anerica the best-known of which is M. mephitica, the comnon skunk. M. macrura is the long-tailed skunk of Mexico. The little striped shunk M. putorius of the United States is referred by Coues to the genus Spilogale. The South American and African skunks which have been referred to Mephites belong to other genera. See skunk.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Mephitis me-fī′tis a poisonous exhalation from the ground or from decaying substances—also Mephī′tism
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
L. mephitis, : cf. F. méphitis,
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. mephitis.


In literature:

The odor with which this creature, truly named Mephitis, can overpower its assailants is truly AWFUL.
"A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" by Isabella L. Bird
Soon a woman ka-wate (mephitis) came along with a vase and a gourd for water.
"Myths and Legends of California and the Old Southwest" by Katharine Berry Judson
Come along with me, and get the mephitis blown out of you.
"The Whirlpool" by George Gissing
That pickpocket, Sir Mephitis, could solve the mystery.
"In the Catskills" by John Burroughs
That pickpocket, Sir Mephitis, could solve the mystery.
"The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 101, March, 1866" by Various
That pickpocket, Sir Mephitis, could solve the mystery.
"Squirrels and Other Fur-Bearers" by John Burroughs
Then there are three genera of the weasel family, including the well-known skunk (Mephitis), all quite different from Eastern forms.
"Island Life" by Alfred Russel Wallace
Because the odor is quite like Mephitis it is considered a so-called anti-spasmodic.
"New, Old, and Forgotten Remedies: Papers by Many Writers" by Various