American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. See Saint Elmo's fire.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A ball of light, supposed to be of an electrical nature, sometimes observed in dark tempestuous nights about the decks and rigging of a ship, but particularly at the mastheads and yard-arms; St. Elmo's light or fire. Also called corpse-light.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. St. Elmo's fire. See under saint.
- n. an electrical discharge accompanied by ionization of surrounding atmosphere
- Latin corpus ("body") + sanctum ("holy") (Wiktionary)
- Portuguese and obsolete Spanish corpo santo, both from Latin corpus sānctum, holy body : corpus, body; see kwrep- in Indo-European roots + sānctus, holy, past participle of sancīre, to consecrate; see sak- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“The next year, Samir hit the word corposant, which refers to an electrical phenomenon.”
“The next year, Samir hit the word corposant which refers to an electrical phenomenon and he shocked the crowd by finishing 27th.”
“The mariners believed them to be the souls of the departed, whence they are also called corposant (corpo santo).”
“When we got down we found all hands looking aloft, and there, directly over where we had been standing, upon the main top-gallant mast-head, was a ball of light, which the sailors call a corposant”
“It was a bronze statue, Greek or Roman, of a torchbearer whose branch flared with sudden cold corposant fire.”
“The salt air smothers the coastal lights, but the mast, the shipped oars, ignite with the corposant, and all through the water a green incandescence, and often at night the coastline is dark, obscured by the luminous reef by the Phoenix of Habbakuk, low in the canceling west, and the wind and the water are borrowed and inward as light.”
“Gaggii kept chanting until he was surrounded by a half circle of bobbing, corposant shapes, each yellow or red-orange, each an individually expressive nimbus.”
“I looked, and saw a corposant, as it is called at sea, -- a St. Elmo's fire, -- burning at the end of the crossjack-yard.”
“We were off the yard in good season, for it is held a fatal sign to have the pale light of the corposant thrown upon ones face.”
“When we got down we found all hands looking aloft, and there, directly over where we had been standing, upon the main top-gallant-mast-head, was a ball of light, which the sailors name a corposant (corpus sancti), and which the mate had called out to us to look at.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘corposant’.
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1815 edition; ed. William Burney (London: Chatham Publishing, 2006).
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