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damp off

[for seedlings] to die from too much water. All the new plants damped off, and we had to buy some from the nursery. The little seedlings damped off and withered away.
See also: damp, off

damp something down

1. Lit. to make something damp. Damp the clothes down before you iron them, Please damp down the clothes first.
2. Fig. to reduce the intensity of a flame, usually by cutting down on the air supply, as with a damper. Please damp the woodstove down. Damp down the air supply or you are going to end up with a raging inferno.
See also: damp, down

a damp squib

  (British & Australian)
an event which people think will be exciting but which is disappointing when it happens
Usage notes: A squib is a type of firework (= a small container filled with chemicals which explodes to produce bright lights and loud noises) and if it becomes wet, it will not explode.
The party turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. Half the people who'd been invited didn't turn up.
See also: damp, squib
References in periodicals archive ?
A more sentimental one would have editorialized, damply, over the loss of so talented a young man.
EVEN those born in comparatively affluent circumstances were aware of the long lines of the unemployed threading their way in shabby queues along the main street, while no one who attended a council school in the thirties could be unaware of malnutrition, of leg-irons masking rickets, and the sight of undernourished, ragged children shivering damply in inadequate playground shelters in the winter when it seemed to rain incessantly.
Hereby the casks are sought to be kept damply tight; while by the changed character of the withdrawn water, the mariners readily detect any serious leakage in the precious cargo.
CYNICS might think they have worked out the real purpose of the beach that lies damply outside Birmingham Council House.
She had that warm, slightly concerned, vaguely cheeky Geordie lilt to her voice, and the effect was like an ice-cold bottle of Newcastle Brown rolled damply across the forehead.
And,at the age of 11,in his smart blazer, with his hair damply parted,he walked the august corridors of the old Wallasey Grammar School.
well, it would eventually arrive in London having given me a tour of Beds and Herts, and sat there damply, realising that what I'd paid out so far today could have provided a Norland nanny for a couple of weeks.