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 away
- ‘Gradually Barcelona had petered out in that first half, Ronaldinho in particular.’
- ‘A path petered out a few feet from my washing line at the back.’
- ‘The men in green will be disappointed with their performance as their smooth first half petered out in the second.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘But when I looked up, further downstream, I could see the river narrowing, petering out.’
- ‘The events of their communities marking the passage of each year were petering out as young people left for the capital cities.’
- ‘That argument went in circles for a while before petering out in non-resolution.’
- ‘Elsewhere in the city, however, the convulsions of anarchy appeared to be petering out.’
- ‘The communal disturbance continued for a couple of weeks before petering out.’
- ‘Some films peter out purely on lack of effort in developing the main storyline.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘I go for a run along a river path that quickly peters out and leaves me in an industrial zone.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘The ending peters out inconclusively in a welter of playful/sloppy metafictional games.’
- ‘By the end, however, the film sort of peters out, and the script falls apart.’
- ‘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.’
- ‘And there the story sort of peters out, I'm afraid.’
- ‘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.’
Early 19th century of unknown origin.
1A man's penis.
2Australian, New Zealand A prison cell.
3A safe or trunk.
- tickle the peter
Steal or embezzle, especially by recording false amounts on a cash register.
- ‘he tickled the peter of a West End company’
- ‘He was so utterly rapt in the man that he would tickle the peter for him without compunction.’
- ‘It didn't matter what we took, half of it was ours—we just tickled the peter.’
- ‘I'm a lurker and cheater, I've tickled the peter.’
- ‘One or two of them have tickled the peter and skedaddled out of the country.’
- ‘I wasn't a broken-down jockey, or a book-keeper who'd done a stretch for tickling the peter, like the others.’
Australian, New Zealand informal
Late Middle English from the given name Peter, applied in many transferred uses. Current senses date from the 19th century.
- another term for echo (sense 6 of the noun)
- ‘South played a diamond to the King, East starting a peter’
- another term for echo (sense 4 of the verb)
- ‘West started by cashing two top diamonds, on which East petered’
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).