to peter out

Idiom Definition

Idiom Definition - peter out

"to peter out"

to disappear gradually in relation to size or quantity


Related words and phrases:

Idiom Scenario 1

Idiom Definition - peter out

Two colleagues are talking ...

Colleague 1: I don't understand what is going on. Sales of our new innovative product were tremendous for the first six quarters and have been declining for the last two quarters.

Colleague 2: If the trend continues, sales will peter out in the next couple of months.

Colleague 1: We really need to understand the dynamic so that we can reverse the trend and increase sales before they completely disappear.

Idiom Scenario 2

Idiom Definition - peter out

Two friends are hiking in a forest ...

Friend 1: Looks like this creek we have been following is petering out.

Friend 2: Let's stop and camp here for the night, then, while we still have access to water.

Friend 1: Good idea. In the morning we can fill all our water containers and be prepared just in case the creek disappears altogether.

Test Your Understanding  

to peter out - Usage:


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to peter out - Gerund Form:

Petering out, the river gradually became a creek and then a trickle and finally nothing.

to peter out - Examples:

1)  But the Leech River reserves proved to be limited; mining operations soon petered out, with the prospectors seeking more promising areas.

2)  I wrote only occasionally - weekly, or when significant things happened. Then that petered out and I haven't kept a journal in years now.

3)  The dynamic building era petered out in the seventies. The new infrastructure was largely in place.

4)  The winds quickly petered out unfortunately so we furled the sails and motored southwards. 

5)  Beckett slid into alcohol and drug abuse when his acting career petered out.

6)  I would find myself writing enthusiastically in the spring, only to peter out by mid summer.

7)  ... it's going to go in one of two directions. It's going to peter out pretty quick, or it's going to escalate just as quick, ...

8)  There was a real will and commitment across participants that the event should not peter out as a one off.

9)  Well that's the thing. It didn't end. It did peter out to a kind of very thin/painless period.

10)  The opportunities to meet other single people tend to peter out as we move from youth to middle age.

11)  But don't panic because the Sun still has billions of years left before it peters out and becomes a red giant.

12)  ... simply fails to build to any sort of real climax, it just sort of peters out. That's its greatest flaw.

13)  The sentence peters out. He is not comfortable with these dark recollections.

14)  ... no attempt to top the first film's Grand Guignol ending, the whole thing peters out with an anticlimactic whimper.

15)  ... their business declines they move back to the other things and so the business just peters out.

16)  It's apparent that the strong acceleration of debt in mid to late 2010 is petering out. Another quarter of that low a rate of acceleration in debt ...

17)  Even when the death penalty was removed, cases continued for some time before petering out. Why the slow response to the changed incentives?

18)  You've got to remember that those old wells in Texas and Alberta are petering out.

19)  A fork now appears in the River, with the River Fall petering out into the drying Ruan Creek.

20)  Hurricane Isaac, downgraded to a tropical storm last night, is petering out over Louisiana after the centre of the storm passed over New Orleans.