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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 ?
So they went out and were guided to the water tank by the whimpering of Bruno, a two-year-old Labrador cross.
They're in such a haze, they'd just as soon carve around a whimpering blader holding his wrist in the bowl as call the kid's mom like he's supposed to.
Barrymore has already been left a whimpering wreck at the end of a lengthy police probe.
It's just that some vendors go overboard in promising that putting a red dot on your opponent's chest will turn him into a whimpering puddle of compliance.
With panic swirling around him--White House Chief of Staff Howard Baker whimpering like an incontinent lap dog, New York Fed President William Corrigan spewing invectives ("Alan, you're it ...
Darren and his friend Anthony Evans, both Boys Brigade officers, heard it whimpering and went to investigate.
Today, gay youth don't have to hide their giddiness over those harmonizing bands that, with their executive-picked pouts, whimpering love songs, and swoon-inducing videos, seem to be solely created to charge adolescent hormones.
When mainstream conservatives were whimpering about the media and trying to use the Fairness Doctrine to force CBS to be nice to Richard Nixon, those boring old libertarians, with their tenacious belief in free speech and free markets, were building the intellectual case to dismantle the broadcasters' monopolies.
Whimpering might be Frank's reaction though when he gets out of prison to find Monica back for good, along with his sixth child.
A MAN accused of stabbing a soldier to death is said to have begun "whimpering" when police arrived to arrest him.
The driver jumped out and ran to the rear of his car and let out a whimpering groan.
But just when Olivia, of Poole, Dorset, had given up hope, builder Dave Lindsay heard the mutt whimpering close to where he was working.
A member of the public contacted the RSPCA after hearing the dog whimpering from a ditch behind the Bowes Incline Hotel.
Symptoms in babies may include high temperature, vomiting and refusing feeds, a high-pitched moaning or whimpering cry, blotchy complexion, and being lethargic or difficult to wake.
The wheelchair-bound pensioner was later found whimpering in pain.