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A Meteoiric Rise

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famous inhaler
669163.  Thu Feb 11, 2010 7:58 am Reply with quote

Could any one help with this puzzler? We all tend to view a meteor as something that falls towards the earth. Why then do we commonly use the phrase meteoric rise ? Our perception of the event is the opposite of the way it's used as an analogy.

 
CB27
669168.  Thu Feb 11, 2010 8:04 am Reply with quote

I think the term meteoric is to do with the speed.

So a meteoric rise just means someone who reached a high level very quickly.

 
famous inhaler
669240.  Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:33 am Reply with quote

Please consider the question fully. Speed isn't the issue, we dont think of meteors as ascending we think of them as descending objects

 
CB27
669250.  Thu Feb 11, 2010 11:55 am Reply with quote

It doesn't matter what direction the meteor is moving, the term meteoric is not consigned purely to "meteoric rise", but also to "meteoric fall", as well as other terms. The word meteoric in itself as far as I can see relates to the speed and possibly the brilliance of meteors, regardless of their direction.


Edit: just checked the dictionary, and one of the definitions is: Similar to a meteor in speed, brilliance, or brevity: a meteoric rise to fame.

 
famous inhaler
670253.  Sun Feb 14, 2010 6:49 am Reply with quote

Of course it matters which direction the meteor is travelling, that's the whole point. I must say I may have been staying in a little too much but have never heard the phrase meteoric fall. It must be an rather uncommon phrase, compared to it's more famous relation. You seem to have by passed the central issue. Why do we relate peoples success (in terms of a rise) to somethings that our collective conciousness sees as a falling object? Thank you for your input but I'm non the wiser.

 
soup
670261.  Sun Feb 14, 2010 7:46 am Reply with quote

He is saying meteoric refers to the speed of an event not the direction. I, for one (other opinions are available), think of meteors as moving not as falling, outwith the "collective consciousness" then. Hence very fast rise equates to meteoric rise .

 
dr.bob
670740.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 4:56 am Reply with quote

Indeed, the vast majority of meteors don't hit the ground: they just burn up in the upper atmosphere. From the point of view of an observer watching from the ground, it's not always clear that they're falling. Often they just appear as streaks of light travelling across the sky. So, whilst meteors are definitely associated with speed of travel, I would agree with soup that they're not always associated with falling.

 
CB27
670860.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:09 am Reply with quote

Of course, if you only want to relate it to "meteoric rise", it could be argued that when womeone rises in their profession very quickly and stands out, that they've become a "star" in their profession, and it could be just the extension of using astronomical terms to describe someone.

 
Spud McLaren
670863.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:15 am Reply with quote

CB27 wrote:
Of course, if you only want to relate it to "meteoric rise", it could be argued that when womeone rises in their profession very quickly and stands out, that they've become a "star" in their profession, and it could be just the extension of using astronomical terms to describe someone.
Just the ladies, CB?

 
gruff5
670912.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:31 am Reply with quote

It may originate from down-under, Oz, where meteors rise, not fall.

 
CB27
670940.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 10:47 am Reply with quote

Hey, I'm still smiling from yesterday, so everyone's a womeone to me today :)

 
Spud McLaren
670964.  Mon Feb 15, 2010 11:28 am Reply with quote

Does Wiki help?

Wiki wrote:
Meteorology, the study of weather, is cognate. Both words derive from the Greek meteōros, which means "high in the air".

 
tchrist
688788.  Sat Mar 27, 2010 10:53 am Reply with quote

famous inhaler wrote:
Could any one help with this puzzler? We all tend to view a meteor as something that falls towards the earth. Why then do we commonly use the phrase meteoric rise ? Our perception of the event is the opposite of the way it's used as an analogy.

Sense 4 of the OED's entry for meteoric reads:

The OED wrote:
4. fig. Transiently or irregularly brilliant, flashing or dazzling like a meteor; also rapid, swift.

--tom

 

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