Ea­monn O’Neal I know my squib from my squid

Wilmslow Express - - WEEKEND TV -

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.

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