coruscate

coruscate
coruscate, excoriate
Confusion of these two somewhat literary words —caused by the coincidence of the syllable -cor- and the ending -ate —is a common malapropism. To coruscate (from Latin coruscare) is to glitter or give off flashes of light, and it can be used figuratively: a coruscating blend of the searingly honest…and the completely deluded. Whereas to excoriate someone is to criticize them harshly, literally ‘to remove their skin’, the physical meaning of the word, derived from Latin corium ‘skin’. A typical misuse follows:

• ☒ The government's response to the tax credits fiasco, which will cost taxpayers unforeseen amounts, is still inadequate, a coruscating report from MPs warns —Scotsman, 2007.

Here, the word intended is excoriating, but it might have been better to avoid the minefield altogether and use a more straightforward but equally satisfactory word such as withering or blistering. The same goes for coruscating in its correct sense: less troublesome alternatives include glittering, glowing, shimmering, dazzling, and gleaming, and people are more likely to know what these mean.

Modern English usage. 2014.

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Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Coruscate — Cor us*cate (k?r ?s k?t or k? r?s k?r), v. i. [L. coruscare to flash, vibrate.] To glitter in flashes; to flash. Syn: To glisten; gleam; sparkle; radiate. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • coruscate — index radiate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • coruscate — (v.) 1705, from L. coruscatus, pp. of coruscare to vibrate, glitter, of unknown origin. Related: Coruscated; coruscating …   Etymology dictionary

  • coruscate — *flash, gleam, scintillate, glance, glint, sparkle, glitter, glisten, twinkle …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • coruscate — [kôr′ə skāt΄, kär′ə skāt΄] vi. coruscated, coruscating [< L coruscatus, pp. of coruscare, to move quickly, glitter < coruscus, vibrating, shimmering] to give off flashes of light; glitter; sparkle coruscant [kə rus′kənt] adj …   English World dictionary

  • coruscate — intransitive verb ( cated; cating) Etymology: Latin coruscatus, past participle of coruscare to flash Date: 1705 1. to give off or reflect light in bright beams or flashes ; sparkle 2. to be brilliant or showy in technique or style …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • coruscate — /kawr euh skayt , kor /, v.i., coruscated, coruscating. to emit vivid flashes of light; sparkle; scintillate; gleam. [1695 1705; < L coruscatus ptp. of coruscare to quiver, flash; see CORUSCANT, ATE1] * * * …   Universalium

  • coruscate — verb a) To give off light; to reflect in flashes; to sparkle. b) To exhibit brilliant technique or style. Syn: gleam, glimmer, glisten …   Wiktionary

  • coruscate — (Roget s Thesaurus II) verb To emit light suddenly in rays or sparks: flash, glance, gleam, glimmer, glint, glisten, glister, glitter, scintillate, shimmer, spangle, sparkle, twinkle, wink. See LIGHT …   English dictionary for students

  • coruscate —  Not rr . Glittering, dazzling, as in coruscating wit …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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