corposant

Definitions

  • WordNet 3.6
    • n corposant an electrical discharge accompanied by ionization of surrounding atmosphere
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Corposant St. Elmo's fire. See under Saint.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n corposant 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.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Corposant kor′po-zant St Elmo's fire, a ball of fire sometimes seen about a ship during a storm.
    • ***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
It. corpo santo, holy body
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Port.,—L. corpus sanctum, holy body.

Usage

In literature:

There was fever between the decks; there was fever in black hearts; of dark nights a corposant burned now at this masthead, now at that.
"Sir Mortimer" by Mary Johnston
Presently a bright star suddenly appears under the faintly gleaming corposants.
"The Missing Merchantman" by Harry Collingwood
The Sailor, then at the Helm, said he lately saw a Corposant at the Head of the Mast.
"John Woolman's Journal" by John Woolman
***