I first became aware of it while reading Lawrence Durrell's stunning novel "Justine." It's one of many descriptive words describing light and color that invigorate his novel. That one word wafts me away to the amazing world created there.
It exemplifies the current trend to short-cutting precise thought and communication. The greatly overused word allows the speaker to thoughtlessly replace hundreds of otherwise beautiful words. E.g.: "I'm like 'Right. Tell me another one.' "