Something that doesn't work the way it's supposed to is a dud. A bomb or firework that doesn't explode is one kind of dud. A bad blind date is another kind.

When a bomb fails to explode, it's a dud. A long-planned surprise party that fails miserably when the guest of honor doesn't show up is another kind of dud. You can also refer to a person as a dud, if he's an utter failure or a complete flop: "The lead actor was a total dud. He couldn't really sing or dance and he seemed nervous." In the 1800s, a dud was "a person in ragged clothing," from dudde, "cloak or mantle."

Definitions of dud

n an explosion that fails to occur

Type of:
breakdown, equipment failure
a cessation of normal operation

n an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual

“the meeting was a dud as far as new business was concerned”
bomb, turkey
Type of:
bust, fizzle, flop
a complete failure

n someone who is unsuccessful

flop, washout
Type of:
failure, loser, nonstarter, unsuccessful person
a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently

adj failing to detonate; especially not charged with an active explosive

“he stepped on a dud mine”
(of weapons) not charged with ammunition

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