The Daily Beast’s main page is trumpeting their coverage of Herman Cain’s “Meteoric rise and sudden fall”. We discussed the strange (though old) phrase “meteoric rise” here some time ago, which generated this priceless comment
Kent Fisher says:
July 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm
Meteors neither rise nor fall. They’re not rocks, they’re flashes of light in the sky that trace the passage of the rock as it passes through the atmosphere. If the rock hits the ground, it’s a meteorite.
Some rocks that eventually become meteorites here on Earth do indeed rise: they’re launched into space from the surface of the Moon or Mars by impacts.
“Meteoric” is apt for describing a brief, intense flash. Meteoritic” would mean something that fell to the ground.
I don’t think Noah Webster would approve, but I have been wanting to use this neologism ever since, and here is my chance: Herman Cain’s Meteoritic Campaign is now over.