not with a bang but a whimper
not with a bang but a whimperLITERARY
If something happens not with a bang but a whimper, it is less effective or exciting than people expected or intended. The Cannes film festival approached its climax yesterday not with a bang but a whimper, as thousands of disappointed festival-goers left early. Note: You can also say that something happened with a bang and not a whimper to mean the opposite. Should the monarchy go, it would be with a memorable bang and not a whimper. Note: This is the last line of T.S. Eliot's poem `The Hollow Men' (1925): `This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.'