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A meteorwrong – a rock resembling a meteorite which was found on a beach in Brittany, France, using a metal detector

Coined by replacing the final syllable of meteorite, which sounds like right, with wrong.



meteorwrong (plural meteorwrongs)

  1. (humorous) A rock that is believed to be a meteorite, but is in fact terrestrial in origin; a pseudometeorite. [from 20th c.]
    • 1964, The Griffith Observer, volume 28, Los Angeles, Calif.: Griffith Observatory, ISSN 0195-3982, OCLC 654904407, page 40, column 1:
      A scarlet precipitate (C8H14N4O4Ni) will be present if nickel is present. A negative test for nickel means you have a "meteorwrong." A positive test may indicate you have a meteorite, but since there are many commercial nickel-iron alloys it is not a conclusive test.
    • 1969, Lincoln LaPaz, Topics in Meteoritics: Hunting Meteorites: Their Recovery, Use, and Abuse from Paleolithic to Present (University of New Mexico Publications in Meteoritics; 6), Albuquerque, N.M.: University of New Mexico Press, OCLC 53282, page 171:
      Unfortunately, the object turned out to be only a “meteorwrong”—although a deceptive one.
    • 2008, O. Richard Norton; Lawrence A. Chitwood, “A Gallery of Meteorwrongs”, in Field Guide to Meteors and Meteorites, London: Springer-Verlag, DOI:10.1007/978-1-84800-157-2, →ISBN, page 175:
      Vastly more meteorwrongs are found than meteorites. This should be no surprise. A host of Earth objects—natural and manmade—do indeed look like meteorites, and they are just waiting to be found and to confuse you.
    • 2010, Mike [Michael] D. Reynolds, “Meteorite Classification”, in Falling Stars: A Guide to Meteors and Meteorites, 2nd revised and updated edition, Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, →ISBN, page 63:
      Those who work in the field looking for meteorites keep a magnet with them at all times. This is always the first test; if the meteorite suspect is not magnetic, it is a "meteorwrong." Good collectors learn very quickly how to identify meteorwrongs since what may be represented as a very rare stone meteorite (at $200 a gram!) could turn out to be an expensive piece of junk. The classic meteorwrong is an igneous rock known as a Cumberlandite.


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