AskDefine | Define fizzle

Dictionary Definition

fizzle v : end weakly; "The music just petered out--there was no proper ending" [syn: taper off, peter out, fizzle out]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Pronunciation

Verb

  1. To decay or die off to nothing; to burn out; to end less successfully than previously hoped.
    The entire project fizzled after the founder retired.

Extensive Definition

In nuclear weapons, a fizzle occurs when the testing of a nuclear bomb fails to meet its expected yield. The reason(s) for the failure can be linked to improper bomb design, poor construction, or lack of expertise. All countries that have had a nuclear weapons testing program have experienced fizzles. A fizzle can spread radioactive material throughout the surrounding area, involve a partial fission reaction of the radiological material, or both.

Nuclear tests considered to be fizzles

  • Buster Able – Considered to be the first known failure of any nuclear device.
  • Upshot Knothole – Ruth – The test failed to declassify the site (erase evidence) as it left the bottom third of the shot tower still standing. The Ray test conducted the following month was allegedly shot on a shorter tower to ensure that the tower would be completely destroyed. This North Korean debut test was weaker than all other countries' initial tests by a factor of 20, and considered possibly the worst initial test in history.

Terrorist concerns

One month after the September 11, 2001 attacks, a CIA informant known as "Dragonfire" reported that al-Qaeda had smuggled a low-yield nuclear weapon into New York City. Although the report was found to be false, concerns that a "fizzle bomb" capable of yielding a fraction of the known 10 kiloton weapons could cause “horrific” consequences, and that it could kill thousands.

References

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abort, assibilate, assibilation, bafflement, balk, be disappointing, betrayed hope, blasted expectation, blighted hope, blow, blow up, blubber, boil, boil over, boiling, bomb, bubble, bubble over, bubble up, bubbliness, bubbling, buffet, burble, burn out, bust, buzz, carbonation, cave in, collapse, come short, come to grief, come to naught, come to nothing, comedown, cruel disappointment, dash, dashed hope, defeat, die, die away, die out, disappointment, discomfiture, disillusionment, dissatisfaction, dull thud, ebullience, ebulliency, ebullition, effervesce, effervescence, effervescency, effervescing, expire, explode, fail, fail miserably, failure, fall short, fall through, fallen countenance, ferment, fermentation, fiasco, fizz, fizz out, fizzle out, fizzling, flame out, flat failure, flop, floperoo, foaming, foiling, forlorn hope, frication, frictional rustling, frost, frothiness, frothing, frustration, get nowhere, go out, go phut, go wrong, guggle, gurgle, hang up, hiss, hissing, hope deferred, hush, hushing, lemon, letdown, lisp, mirage, miscarry, misfire, not hack it, not make it, peter out, plop, poop out, rhonchus, seethe, setback, shush, shushing, sibilance, sibilate, sibilation, siffle, sigmatism, simmer, siss, sissing, sizz, sizzle, sizzling, sneeze, sneezing, sniff, sniffle, snore, snort, snuff, snuffle, sore disappointment, sparkle, spit, splutter, spumescence, sputter, squash, squelch, squish, sternutation, stertor, swish, tantalization, tease, total loss, turkey, turn sour, washout, wheeze, whish, whisper, whistle, whistling, white noise, whiz, whoosh, work, zip
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