damp squib


damp squib


  • an event that people think will be exciting but that is disappointing when it happens.
  • something is less exciting than expected.
  • dampening of excitement.
  • wet firework.
  • disappointment.
  • a buzzkill.

Example Sentences

  1. People were expecting a big celebration, but what they got was a damp squib.
  2. The fireworks salesman was accused of selling damp squibs.
  3. Everyone else was having a good time; she was acting like a damp squib.
  4. Her 16th birthday party should have been a blowout, but thanks to the rain, it turned into a damp squib that everyone wanted to forget.
  5. Everyone felt the need to ask him why he was being such a damp squib instead of partaking in the festivities.
  6. The party turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Half the people who’d been invited didn’t turn up.


As one of the lesser-known idioms in the English language, the term “damp squib” is traceable back to the 1500s. It was, simply put, used to describe a type of firework that emitted a very unenthusiastic and extremely mild explosion when it was ignited. The story is that a squib that had gotten damp and would not go off is the reason why this term exists. Regardless of this, the first known use in the English language was recorded in March 1837 in the London newspaper, The Morning Post. To this date, the idiom is still not widely known among many English-speaking individuals.

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