squib

[skwib]
noun
1.
a short and witty or sarcastic saying or writing.
2.
Journalism. a short news story, often used as a filler.
3.
a small firework, consisting of a tube or ball filled with powder, that burns with a hissing noise terminated usually by a slight explosion.
4.
a firecracker broken in the middle so that it burns with a hissing noise but does not explode.
5.
Australian. a coward.
6.
an electric, pyrotechnic device for firing the igniter of a rocket engine, especially a solid-propellant engine.
7.
Obsolete. a mean or paltry fellow.
verb (used without object), squibbed, squibbing.
8.
to write squibs.
9.
to shoot a squib.
10.
to explode with a small, sharp sound.
11.
to move swiftly and irregularly.
12.
Australian.
a.
to be afraid.
b.
to flee; escape.
verb (used with object), squibbed, squibbing.
13.
to assail in squibs or lampoons.
14.
to toss, shoot, or utilize as a squib.

Origin:
1515–25; origin uncertain

squibbish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
squib (skwɪb)
 
n
1.  a firework, usually having a tube filled with gunpowder, that burns with a hissing noise and culminates in a small explosion
2.  a firework that does not explode because of a fault; dud
3.  a short witty attack; lampoon
4.  an electric device for firing a rocket engine
5.  obsolete an insignificant person
6.  slang (Austral), (NZ) a coward
7.  damp squib something intended but failing to impress
 
vb , squibs, squibbing, squibbed
8.  (intr) to sound, move, or explode like a squib
9.  (intr) to let off or shoot a squib
10.  to write a squib against (someone)
11.  (intr) to move in a quick irregular fashion
12.  slang (Austral) (intr) to behave in a cowardly fashion
 
[C16: probably imitative of a quick light explosion]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

squib
c.1525, "short bit of sarcastic writing, witty scoff," of unknown origin. If the meaning "small firework that burns with a hissing noise" (attested from 1530) is the original one, the word may be imitative.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Your magazine squib intimated that the above article was going to be about
  great directors and their techniques.
Then a squib kick to open the second half backfired.
Many of the guests on the impressive list were unable to attend the rearranged
  service, which was something of a damp squib.
Perhaps the bride and groom's turn was the damp squib where none was needed.
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