To end on a muted note - most likely in a situation where one would have expected a more spectacular finish. This expression was coined by T.S. Elliot in his 1925 poem, The Hollow Men, which ends: This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends This is the way the world ends Not with a bang but a whimper.
This means that something is worthless and dates back to when someone would travel around the countryside repairing things such as a kitchen pot with a hole in it. He was called a 'tinker'. His dam was used to stop the flow of soldering material being used to close the hole. Of course his 'trade' is passé, thus his dam is worth nothing.
If you know of an idiom that you would like to be listed here, please use our online form to
suggest an idiom.
UsingEnglish.com is partnering with Gymglish to give you a free one-month trial of this excellent online English training course. Activate your free month of lessons (special offer for new users, with no obligation to buy) - and receive a level assessment!