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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 terms[edit]


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.