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not with a bang but with a whimper

In an anti-climactic way. Typically used to describe the end of something. The phrase is taken from the last stanza of T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men": "This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper." We all thought the championship was going to be a close game, but it ended up being a blowout, and the season ended not with a bang but with a whimper.
See also: bang, but, not, whimper
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

not with a bang but a whimper

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.'
See also: bang, but, not, whimper
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
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References in periodicals archive ?
nursing him investigating one in staff at steroi"It is the first time I have ever seen a dog whimper because a stethoscope is touching their skin Steve Wickham
The media buzz on the issue might be loud, but when it comes to doing the homework on political and electoral reform in Lebanon, there's not even a bang, or a whimper, just silence.
Of Saturday's defeat he blamed his own side rather than praise Pools: "Losing, and losing with a whimper, will test our character."
I distracted them with a bedtime story while the parents slipped out and there wasn't another whimper.
She looked up at me with those big eyes and shyly whimpered, "Would you like to buy some cookies?
He is the muscle as well as the whimper. He is the beacon in the storm as much as he is the shadow every man winces to find in himself if he is a man at all.
Boston College's 2003-04 regular season came to an end last night in Dylan Thomas-esque fashion--with a whimper, not a bang."
Simply put, the Environics study depicts General Synod -- the national embodiment of the church -- as having utterly failed to tell its story, to such an extent that it appears its dissolution and death would cause scarcely a whimper among the church population at large.
Gottlieb sang a swan song of modernist abstraction, which ends with a geomorphic whimper as well as a gestural bang.
Apparently, members of the Supreme Court and talk-radio audiences disagree and are rolling back the rights of children with hardly a whimper of dissent.
MERTHYR TYDFIL resisted defeat with little more than a whimper at Kettering Town, at Rockingham Road.
After a miserable fourth quarter, last year ended with a whimper for many mutual funds.
Says Mike Antonucci, director of The Education Intelligence Agency, a private research firm based in Sacramento California, "Instead of getting a bang for our buck, we are getting a whimper."
Many of us can also yip, yap, yelp, mew, squeak, whine, whimper, grunt, coo, growl, and howl.