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Decrease or fade gradually before coming to an end:‘the storm had petered out’
disappear, vanish into thin air, be lost to sight, be lost to view, be invisible, become invisible, evaporate, dissipate, disperse, fade, fade away, melt away, evanesce, recede from view, withdraw, depart, leave, go awayView synonyms
- ‘The game looked to be petering out to a drab draw, until Aidan McCarron, the flying Mary's full-forward, was wrestled to the ground inside the square.’
- ‘The men in green will be disappointed with their performance as their smooth first half petered out in the second.’
- ‘But when I looked up, further downstream, I could see the river narrowing, petering out.’
- ‘Gradually Barcelona had petered out in that first half, Ronaldinho in particular.’
- ‘That argument went in circles for a while before petering out in non-resolution.’
- ‘The communal disturbance continued for a couple of weeks before petering out.’
- ‘The ending, in particular, is a definite let-down as the script simply peters out in dialogue rather than concluding on the monumental bang Tarantino's been teasing us to expect all along.’
- ‘Some films peter out purely on lack of effort in developing the main storyline.’
- ‘I go for a run along a river path that quickly peters out and leaves me in an industrial zone.’
- ‘The events of their communities marking the passage of each year were petering out as young people left for the capital cities.’
- ‘In fact you can't - the road peters out at the Beacon, a white landmark on top of a cliff, which looks like a giant coasthouse.’
- ‘When the door shuts, conversation peters out, expressions sour, a drunk guy in a shiny shirt leans against the wall.’
- ‘Elsewhere in the city, however, the convulsions of anarchy appeared to be petering out.’
- ‘But the movie doesn't really hold together; apart from the irritating visual style, the script really peters out and most of the performances are played way too broadly.’
- ‘And there the story sort of peters out, I'm afraid.’
- ‘A path petered out a few feet from my washing line at the back.’
- ‘We then rewind through the previous stories, expecting everything to come together with a bang, but instead seeing each tale peter out in a whimper.’
- ‘The ending peters out inconclusively in a welter of playful/sloppy metafictional games.’
- ‘We never get beyond a three-volley reply situation as conversation peters out after establishing that we're both fine and neither of us cares.’
- ‘By the end, however, the film sort of peters out, and the script falls apart.’
Early 19th century: of unknown origin.
1A man's penis.
2Australian NZ A prison cell.
3A safe or trunk.
tickle the peter
informal Steal or embezzle, especially by recording false amounts on a cash register:‘he tickled the peter of a West End company’
- ‘I'm a lurker and cheater, I've tickled the peter.’
- ‘He was so utterly rapt in the man that he would tickle the peter for him without compunction.’
- ‘I wasn't a broken-down jockey, or a book-keeper who'd done a stretch for tickling the peter, like the others.’
- ‘One or two of them have tickled the peter and skedaddled out of the country.’
- ‘It didn't matter what we took, half of it was ours—we just tickled the peter.’
Late Middle English: from the given name Peter, applied in many transferred uses. Current senses date from the 19th century.
noun & verbBridge
- ‘West started by cashing two top diamonds, on which East petered’another term for echo
Late 19th century: from Blue Peter (the invitation to one's partner to play a further lead in the suit being likened to the raising of this flag).
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