Eamonn O’Neal I know my squib from my squid
I’VE had a bit of a row this week with someone who thinks he knows a thing or two about language, particularly the origins of phrases or idioms we use every day.
He was telling me about an event he went to which was very disappointing and he called it a ‘damp squid’.
I said it should be a ‘damp squib’ but I couldn’t explain why, so I lost the argument.
Having done some research, I am now delighted to be able to share with you the definitive explanation, just in case you’re struggling with some small-talk during your next cocktail party.
A squid is obviously an elongated, fastswimming cephalopod mollusc with eight arms and two long tentacles, typically able to change colour, whereas a squib is an explosive device used in pyrotechnics and, if it gets wet, it won’t ignite and therefore becomes useless. So ner.