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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 ?
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.
The crowd on Kennington Common melted damply away in the rain and by 2 o'clock in the afternoon Lord John Russell, the prime minister, was able to report to Queen Victoria that the Chartist meeting had been a total failure.
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.
Elvis is bathed in sweat, his hair hanging damply across his face.
Tynemouth Front Street, its bunting fluttering damply in the breeze, was a sea of umbrellas as young and old alike rushed for vantage points.
We followed him through the woods along the old path, which smelled damply of dew and forgotten places.
Her hands, warm and exciting, fumbled under my shirt and slid over my sweaty back; I felt how her thighs relaxed in our embrace, I smelled how sweet her breath was; euphoric sweat mingled on our faces; some of Naja's dark curls were sticking damply to her face.
Her grey-blonde hair fluffed damply around her ears.
Phone 8am to 9pm 7 days a week AS WALES heads damply into tomorrow's St Swithin's Day, forecasters have offered superstitious weather-watchers a rare ray of hope.
Probably crushed underfoot in the taxi, or languishing damply in some gutter.