Definition of corposant in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈkôrpəˌsant/


An appearance of St. Elmo’s fire on a mast, rigging, or other structure.
Example sentences
  • Everybody knows nowadays that a corposant is nothing whatever but an electrical phenomenon, and therefore merely an indication that the atmosphere is surcharged with electricity.
  • The most stunning demonstration of its unearthly spell occurs late in Pequod's ill-fated voyage, when the ship is illuminated by an eerie outburst of corposants in the midst of a violent squall.
  • Seeing St. Elmo's Fire, jolly Stubb changed to pleading Stubb: ‘The corposants have mercy on us all!’


Mid 16th century: from Old Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian corpo santo 'holy body'.

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.