Small controlled explosive devices used to simulate gunshot wounds in movies and TV. Usually paired with a "blood bag" — which is exactly what it sounds like, a small plastic sac filled with a liquid that looks like blood — to produce what supposedly looks like a "real" wound. And according to most actors who've been hooked up to them, they hurt.
Like most pyrotechnics, squibs will not work if they get too wet. In addition to its literal meaning, the term "damp squib" is sometimes used as a metaphor for a setup that fails in execution.
Not to be confused with:
- Non-magical children of wizard parents in the Harry Potter universe, which are termed "squibs" in-world.
- A Squab, which is a pigeon.
- "Squib" also has a meaning as a verb, meaning to hit weakly. Most commonly heard in sports broadcasts, both American football (a purposely weaker kickoff in order to prevent the return team to set up its normal return and/or force someone other than its normal returner (usually someone bigger and slower than the normal returner) to field it, and baseball (a ball hit so softly that by the time it gets to any of the fielders, the batter is already at first base.)
- A squib can also be a short humorous piece of writing, possibly by analogy with the explosive (it hisses briefly then ends with a bang).
- A "squib load", a firearm misfire where the the propellant in a bullet fails to eject the projectile from the barrel.