Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I recently came across a situation where something was decreasing rapidly. My friend was led to say:

The price of fuel has really skyrocketed downwards lately.

Something about this statement sounded wrong. Surely a skyrocket must always go up, by definition.

What would be a more suitable word or phrase to describe something that is decreasing rapidly?

share|improve this question
8  
General Reference. Wiktionary: plummet; Merriam-Webster: nose-dive, plummet, plunge. –  Kris Oct 10 '12 at 13:27
6  
Do people agree that "skyrocketing downwards" is not correct? What about merely rocketing downwards"? –  Urbycoz Oct 10 '12 at 13:30
1  
"Skyrocketed downwards" is awkward, but understandable. Whether it's "correct" or not depends on what you mean by "correct". Same thing for "rocketing downwards", mostly because we don't usually use the verb form like that. –  Marthaª Oct 10 '12 at 13:41
1  
"Skyyyrockets in flight. Afternoon delight!" –  Izkata Oct 10 '12 at 17:52
2  
Free fall - "The price of fuel is in a full on free fall lately." –  Jon Hess Oct 10 '12 at 23:07
show 3 more comments

8 Answers

up vote 109 down vote accepted

Plummeted?

  1. Fall or drop straight down at high speed.
  2. Decrease rapidly in value or amount.
share|improve this answer
    
As Joost mentioned, "plummeted" is more applicable as the context is about finance and pricing with respect to your question. –  Sameer Patil Oct 10 '12 at 13:47
5  
I've loved this word ever since the immortal lines "Now witness their attempts to fly from tree to tree. Notice they do not so much fly as plummet." (Monty Python, Flying Sheep) –  Tim Pietzcker Oct 11 '12 at 8:31
    
@TimPietzcker : +1 My first thoughts on reading the question! –  Peter K. Oct 11 '12 at 12:54
add comment

In keeping with the space-themed metaphor, the opposite of skyrocketed would be cratered. However, that suggests that the fall is catastrophic and perhaps unrecoverable, which may not be the connotation you are looking for if you are talking about the price of fuel.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Lead balloon is nice but does not really work as an adjective. Lead Balloned does not quite roll off the tongue.

share|improve this answer
add comment

The price of fuel has taken a nose-dive.

share|improve this answer
7  
Or just "nose-dived". –  Daniel Roseman Oct 10 '12 at 13:42
2  
+1 for being the closest to the flying metaphor used by skyrocket. –  KRyan Oct 10 '12 at 18:45
add comment

Crashed is another contender, and if you're looking for something a little more idiomatic you could say it's dropped like a stone.

share|improve this answer
1  
And when it is irretrievable, crashed and burned. –  bib Oct 11 '12 at 15:39
add comment

I'd be perfectly comfortable with plunged, e.g.

The price at the pump has plunged since OPEC met.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Tanked is likely an option.

The price of fuel has tanked in recent weeks.

share|improve this answer
7  
Tanked is a great word to use if you're writing a catchy headline for this event, because it creates a fuel-related pun. –  Kaz Oct 10 '12 at 16:41
6  
Headline: "The price of fuel tanks" Reader:"The price of fuel tanks does WHAT?!?!" –  Jimmy Oct 10 '12 at 23:59
    
Any attention to a headline is good attention. :) –  Kaz Oct 11 '12 at 0:06
add comment

I'm not sure there is a direct equivalent but the normal phrase used in that situation is

The price of fuel has plummeted recently.

or

The price of fuel has gone through the floor lately.

share|improve this answer
    
I see "plummet" way more often. –  Ekevoo Oct 11 '12 at 17:06
add comment

protected by RegDwigнt Oct 10 '12 at 15:33

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site.

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.