I'm looking for a word to describe a thing/person that always shows potential in the way they start something but fails to follow through to its conclusion.

Some examples could be:

  • A batsman in Cricket who plays a few good strokes at the start of his innings but then gets out cheaply without making any impact on the outcome of the game.

  • Some technology that looks promising when it's launched successfully. People think it will change the world, etc., but then it fails disappointingly for one reason or another.

  • Something that is "Disappointing"?
    – Bella Swan
    May 6, 2019 at 5:02
  • 1
    @BellaSwan In the way it fails yes, but not in the way it kicks things off. May 6, 2019 at 5:15
  • I think I've found the word - anticlimactic. May 6, 2019 at 5:16
  • Sounds to me like second-act problems. link Jan 31, 2020 at 14:57

2 Answers 2


The word is anticlimactic. It popped up in my mind as I recalled some famous sports commentary. Then checked the definition on web and the term aptly describes the situation I had in mind.

Here's OED's definition -

anticlimactic - Causing disappointment at the end of an exciting or impressive series of events.

‘it was an anticlimactic finish to the match’


A damp squib is a similar concept.

OED - "a situation or event which is much less impressive than expected"

A squib is a firework, which promises exciting things, but then being damp it fails to work properly.

However, it turned out to be a damp squib as the local leaders and even party’s own MLAs remained absent from the programme. [The Times of India]

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