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To slowly get weaker or softer and then to disappear/end completely.

E.g. “The music just petered out as the band stopped playing”

“We followed the path through the forest but eventually it just petered out.”

“I can’t talk to Jeff about anything. Our conversation always just peters out, unless we’re talking about biscuits.”

Hello, my name is Luke Thompson. You are listening to “A Phrasal Verb a Day”.
And here is another phrasal verb for you. This one is TO PETER OUT – PETER OUT.
Now, Peter that is like the name Peter p-e-t-e-r. And “out”, well, like the opposite of “in”
So, PETER OUT. Okay.
Now, if something PETERS OUT it means that it sort of gradually becomes smaller or weaker before eventually just stopping completely. Okay, so it gets weaker, it gets softer and then finally it stops. Okay, so it PETERS OUT.
Now you could say that a few different things PETER OUT. Often it is noise, like sound. For example the music just PETERED OUT at the end. That would be if a band is playing a song and usually bands sort of finish the song properly. “ da…da…da…BAH!” You know, there is usually a sort of big ending. But if the musicians are improvising or they are bad musicians, they might sort of just slowly stop playing without any proper conclusion. So, you know, the music just PETERED OUT as the the band slowly stopped playing one by one. Okay, so the music PETERED OUT.
You could say that a path or a road PETERS OUT. Imagine you are going along a path through the countryside and you are following the path through the forest but eventually the path just gets smaller and smaller and smaller until eventually it just PETERS OUT completely and disappears. Okay.
Also you could say that a conversation PETERS OUT as well. That is when you are having a conversation and eventually it just sort of slows down and then just dies.
So, I will give you an example of a conversation PETERING OUT. It might be like this:
“Hey, how is it going? – Oh, fine thanks. – You? – Yeah, not bad. – So what have you being up to? – Oh, just, you know, just the usual. Oh not much really. What about you? – Yeah, the same, just nothing really. – Yeah – Okay – Good – All right, well, see you later then. – All right. – Bye.”
You see, the conversation just PETERED OUT. It is like the worst form of conversation ever. It just doesn’t really go anywhere, eventually it just PETERS OUT completely.
Okay, so there you go. That is your phrasal verb for the day and I will speak to you again very soon. Okay. Bye.