I used the term “meteoric rise” the other day to describe someone rapidly climbing through the ranks, achieving greater and greater status as they went. It’s a common phrase used to refer to unusually fast success. But unless I’m mistaken, meteors don’t rise at all. They only fall rapidly through the atmosphere, and their light is due to their incineration on descent, which usually results in their complete destruction.
As a metaphor for success, a meteor sucks. Where did this phrase come from anyway? Of course, I am not the first to notice the conceptual dissonance. Some have even used it to poetic ends.