Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Weird Word of the Week: Coruscatingly

Madame L loves this word! She found it when she was researching the answer to a Dear Reader's question about the book "Leaning In."

Madame L found an article about the woman "W" who had been offered a teaching job at a college, which job offer was then withdrawn when the the woman tried to negotiate terms which would probably have been considered normal for a man being offered the same job.  The college responded to the request not by negotiating or accepting even one of the suggestions made by the woman; but rather by writing, "...Thus, the institution has decided to withdraw its offer of employment to you."

Madame L followed a link in that article to another article by the same author in which she discussed the value of "power poses," the idea that if standing like Wonder Woman for a few minutes before a job interview, date, raise request, and so on, will empower you and make whatever you're trying to achieve become more possible. 

What about the word, you're asking? Yes, Madame L was getting to that. In that article, Katy Waldman wrote that she used the power pose before meeting a friend at a bar for drinks. Here's how it went:
A friend and I made plans to meet at 9:00 p.m. at a popular bar in Adams Morgan. I arrived a bit early, which gave me some time to stand outside the entrance with my fists planted on my hips and my legs spread. I did not, in fact, feel powerful. I felt silly. So I walked around to the side of the bar, where I had a slimmer chance of being observed, and tried again. No discernible testosterone cascades, but after a few minutes a sediment of calm did begin to settle in my chest. I also noticed that I was getting tired from holding the power pose.
When I went inside, a greeter was stationed in the doorway, and perhaps I was more gregarious with him then I might otherwise have been. We bantered, coruscatingly, about whether he planned to ask for my ID (“No, I’m just the greeter”) and whether the upper floor experience merited the steep climb upstairs. When I traipsed up to explore, a second man blocked my ingress.

Dear Readers, you'll have to follow the link to find out how this specific experiment turned out. Madame L will reveal, however, that Ms. Waldman concluded after her three experiments with power poses that they might have had a placebo effect, at least.

So, what about the word, you're asking, again? Yes, Madame L hopes you noticed that the word is used in that quoted bit: "We bantered, coruscatingly..."

Madame L had to look it up, and she found that "coruscatingly" means "in a flashing, brilliant, or keen manner."

And there you have it.

Coruscatingly,

Madame L

2 comments:

Laura said...

Great word!

Jeff Wynn said...

Any relation to
HVDC?
Scintillating?
Serendipity?
Phlebotomy?

That word was about as appropriate for her context as any of these.

Fists on hips, legs apart. Is that like a man standing slouched with both fists in his front pockets? Just sayin', if you're trying to project (leak, squirt) testosterone...
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