Sunday, February 7, 2010
Recently, on another blog I write, I mentioned a new publishing venture called MatchbookStory.com, in which the publisher will publish a 300 character story on the inside of a matchbook. Peter Rozovsky and I were batting around some very short reviews that these stories might evoke, and one of his was "coruscating".
I am pretty sure I can understand the general drift of coruscating--it means something like "scalding, abrasive, harsh", right? A review that was coruscating would be dripping with venom.
But here is one of the problems of Latin having dropped from our curriculum. I can guess at the general meaning from context, but the sounder etymological roots I haven't a clue of.
The one clue I do have is that it must have something to do with either tinder or fire. Or at least matches...Here we go.
Oh, dear. So far off. Coruscating means "to give off flashes of light. To sparkle."
Diamonds coruscate. So do, apparently, flutists. But it doesn't mean to rake over the coals, as I somehow thought.
The one thing I was right about was the fact that a grounding in Latin would have stood me in good stead here. "Coruscating" comes from the Latin coruscare, "to flash".
Well, okay--maybe the Romans.
Looks like I'm going to be reading reviews in a whole new, uh, light.