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METEORIC:
A. skeptical
B. pessimistic
C. complacent
D. gradual
E. exemplary

(Choose a lettered word that is most nearly opposite in meaning to the word in the capital letters.)

Okay, we all can tell only D makes sense in this question. But is it convincing to set ‘gradual’ as the right answer? Any related to “lasting” would be more right. “Gradual” doesn’t sound ‘any lasting’.
Comments  
In my opinion 'meteoric' emphasizes how fast it went, not necessarily how fugitive it was. In which case 'gradual' is definitely fine as the right opposite.
But this is just how it sounds to my (non native) ear...
Hi Jeff,

Where does 'lasting' or 'any lasting' come from?

'Meteoric' means 'resembling a meteor in speed or in sudden and temporary brilliance.'
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Here it is:

fame is just a meteoric thing; we should instead pursue something lasting and substantial.
So "meteoric" can mean "fast" or "short-lived". Given the choices presented in the original problem, it's clear that the authors of the item wanted you to focus on "fast". I'll bet you could construct another five choices to test for "meteoric" meaning "short-lived"! How about it? Want to try?
But I suppose we could say that a meteor gradually accelerates, as it approaches Earth...

MrP
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
I've always wanted to ask:

What do you all think about these analogy/antonyms questions? Are they, in your mind, fair questions?

Do you have such questions in, say, British exams?
Well, I don't know if anything similar turns up in any British exams. But the fact that native speakers often disagree about the answers does suggest that the questions aren't very well constructed.

MrP
MrPedanticBut I suppose we could say that a meteor gradually accelerates, as it approaches Earth...

Yes. though it does so 'meteorically'.
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