Barbary duck


Definition of Barbary duck

: muscovy duck Sometimes called Barbary ducks, Muscovy ducks have a bumpy red face that resembles a turkey.— Steve Doyle, Huntsville (Alabama) Times, 10 Mar. 2010 especially : the flesh of the Muscovy duck used as food The kitchen marinates Barbary duck in red wine and serves it in a rich sauce based on aromatic herbs and wild berries. — Max Jacobson, Los Angeles Times, 6 May 1994

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of Barbary duck

1775, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Barbary duck

after Barbary (North Africa), probably as translation of French canard de Barbarie

Note: The vernacular name reflects the tradition in pre-Linnaean biology (e.g., the Ornithologia of Ulisse Aldrovandi) that the bird was native to North Africa—also apparent in the Linnaean genus name Cairina, literally, “Cairene.”

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Barbary duck

Time Traveler for Barbary duck

Time Traveler

The first known use of Barbary duck was in 1775

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Barbary duck

Cite this Entry

“Barbary duck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2020.

Comments on Barbary duck

What made you want to look up Barbary duck? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!