Can coruscating be used as a one word adjective to describe "interesting and exciting"?

Basically the usage is "his interesting and exciting research work" which will end up as "his coruscating research work".

Referring to dictionary.com gives this:

verb (used without object), coruscated, coruscating.
1. to emit vivid flashes of light; sparkle; scintillate; gleam.

So does this mean "coruscating" cannot be used with an object (research in this case)?

  • Coruscating: › formal extremely clever and exciting or humorous. dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/coruscating
    – user66974
    Aug 21 '14 at 18:22
  • I've got a soft spot in my heart for "irradiating", because of this quote by Alexander Smith: "It is not so much consequence what you say, as how you say it. Memorable sentences are memorable, on account of some single irradiating word.". That said, the word most commonly used in your context is "galvanizing" (meaning motivating to action), and sometimes "bracing" (as in the shock of jumping into cold water).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 21 '14 at 18:39
  • How about "luminary research"? Is it proper usage?
    – Arpith
    Aug 21 '14 at 20:19
  • Research is not an object in your example. There is nothing grammatically wrong with coruscating research, though I for one find it quite an odd choice of words. Then again, I find @Dan’s galvanising research somewhat jarring, too—Google seems to agree that this is mostly used as a verbal, rather than adjectival participle, i.e., in a context like “We support galvanising [further] research into XYZ”, rather than “This is some very galvanising research”. Aug 21 '14 at 22:05
  • @Arpith: As a metaphor to a light in the dark, "luminary research" would be just fine. "Illuminating research" is more common, though. "Luminary" or "leading light" are used more to describe the researcher than the research itself.
    – Simon
    Aug 21 '14 at 22:05

What a horrible “dictionary”!

That’s just saying that coruscate is an intransitive verb, so you can’t *coruscate anything.

It has nothing to do with participial adjectives, like coruscating wit.

  • Forgive my ignorance, but what does the asterisk denote when ELU users prefix a word with it?
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 21 '14 at 19:02
  • 2
    @DanBron Here, it indicates an ungrammatical or impossible word or construction of some sort. This is the bogosity asterisk, and it is not so much an ELU habit as it is one of general linguistics literature. Note however that there is another quite distinct use that linguists routinely make of “asterisk(ed) words”: a reconstructed or inputed or deduced word that the writer thinks may (or must) have existed but for which no direct written evidence actually exists, such as some hypothetical PIE word. That one is the hypothetical asterisk.
    – tchrist
    Aug 21 '14 at 19:07
  • Thanks, that's quite helpful (and, unsurprising coming from you, both clear and comprehensive).
    – Dan Bron
    Aug 21 '14 at 19:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.