damp(redirected from dampness)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
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.
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.
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.
[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.
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.
a damp squibmainly 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.
a damp squiban 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.
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.