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Possibly imitative of a small explosion.[1]



squib (plural squibs)

  1. (military) A small firework that is intended to spew sparks rather than explode.
    English Navy squibs set fire to two dozen enemy ships in a Dutch harbor during the 16th century battle against the Spanish Armada.
    • Blackstone
      The making and selling of fireworks and squibs [] is punishable.
  2. A similar device used to ignite an explosive or launch a rocket, etc.
  3. (mining) A kind of slow match or safety fuse.
  4. (US) Any small firecracker sold to the general public. Usually available in special clusters designed to explode in series after a single master fuze is lit.
  5. (automotive) The heating element used to set off the sodium azide pellets in a vehicle's airbag.
  6. (cinema or theater special effects) A small explosive used to replicate a bullet hitting a surface.
  7. (dated) A short piece of witty writing; a lampoon.
    • Goldsmith
      [] who copied his squibs, and re-echoed his jokes.
  8. (dated) A writer of lampoons.
    • Tatler
      The squibs are those who in the common phrase of the world are called libellers, lampooners, and pamphleteers.
  9. (law) In a legal casebook, a short summary of a legal action placed between more extensively quoted cases.
  10. (academia) A short article, often published in journals, that introduces theoretically problematic empirical data or discusses an overlooked theoretical problem. In contrast to a typical article, a squib need not answer the questions that it poses.
    • 2008, William J. Idsardi, Combinatorics for Metrical Feet, in Biolinguistics Vol 2, No 2
      In this squib I will prove that the number of possible metrical parsings into feet under these assumptions […]
  11. (archaic) An unimportant, paltry, or mean-spirited person.
    • Spenser, Mother Hubberds Tale ll. 369-371:
      Its a hard case when men of good deserving / must either driven be perforce to sterving / or asked for their pas by everie squib
  12. (slang) A sketched concept or visual solution, usually very quick and not too detailed. A word most commonly used within the Graphic Design industry.

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


squib (third-person singular simple present squibs, present participle squibbing, simple past and past participle squibbed)

  1. To make a sound such as a small explosion.
    A Snider squibbed in the jungle.
  2. (colloquial, dated) To throw squibs; to utter sarcastic or severe reflections; to contend in petty dispute.
    to squib a little debate



  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, Squib, accessed 2009-07-21.