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damp down

1. To moisten something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "damp" and "down." I have to damp down my hair before combing it, or else it just sticks straight up.
2. To make a fire or flame less intense. A noun or pronoun can be used between "damp" and "down." The room's getting too hot now, so damp down the fire.
See also: damp, down

damp off

To die after overexposure to water. Typically used in reference to plants and seeds. I'm worried that days of torrential rain will cause the flowers I just planted to damp off.
See also: damp, off

damp squib

Someone or something that disappoints or does not meet expectations. The film got a lot of hype, but I thought it was a bit of a damp squib.
See also: damp, squib
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

a damp squib

mainly BRITISH
COMMON A damp squib is something which is much less impressive or exciting than it was expected to be. As a rebellion, it was something of a damp squib. The whole campaign turned out to be a damp squib. Note: A squib is a small firework. A damp squib would not go off properly, and so it would be a disappointment.
See also: damp, squib
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a damp squib

an unsuccessful attempt to impress; an anticlimax.
This expression stems from the idea that a squib, a type of small firework, will not have the desired explosive effect if it is damp.
See also: damp, squib
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a damp ˈsquib

(British English, informal) an event, experience, etc. that is expected to be interesting or exciting, but is in fact boring or ordinary: In the end, the party turned out to be rather a damp squib.
A squib is a type of small firework. If it is damp, it will not burn properly.
See also: damp, squib
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
But as Terry Butcher put his troops through their paces in deepest, dampest Lanarkshire, all morbid thoughts were cast aside.
Stephen Burke, head of charity United for All Ages, called it "the dampest of damp squibs".
And this has been a phenomenally wet winter, the dampest since the 1940s, according to the older end.
He had the ability to raise even the dampest of spirits with his characteristic cheeky smile and fantastic sense of humour.
And with no prospect of internationals getting sufficient preparation for their clash with the World Champions, Wales' autumn campaign suddenly seemed the dampest of squibs.
The potential of American soap female villainesses have not only penetrated deepest, dampest Yorkshire.
Manchester was also the scene of the biggest showdown of the summer turning into the dampest of squibs.
Simply dig a hole in the dampest place around and cover it with plastic.
THE district may have had its dampest, dullest summers for years, but defiant Penistone Show organisers soldiered on and staged yet another super show last weekend - despite the deluge.
The wettest on record occurred during the winter of 1989-90, while the second dampest was 1994-5.
Scotland's dourest, dampest summer for decades was officially declared "horriblis" yesterday - by royal decree.
THE wet weather made sure the amateur rugby league season got off to the dampest of starts.
The amount of rainfall was close to record levels, making it the dampest start to a year since 1993.
While just 2.8 per cent of the students who reported no problems with their accommodation had said they had asthma, 4.3 per cent of those with the dampest houses suffered from the condition.
The dampest weather in decades has forced the fearsome insects to pack a whole season's feeding into just one warm month.