duck

1 of 4

noun (1)

plural ducks
often attributive
1
or plural duck
a
: any of various swimming birds (family Anatidae, the duck family) in which the neck and legs are short, the feet typically webbed, the bill often broad and flat, and the sexes usually different from each other in plumage
often used figuratively in phrases like have one's ducks in a row, get one's ducks in a row, or put one's ducks in a row to describe being or becoming thoroughly prepared or organized
Her program's 10-week curriculum … uses a budget book to help first-timers get their financial ducks in a row.Eileen Jenkins
I'm to prepare for a formal review in two weeks. Reserve a conference room. Get all my ducks in a row.Chuck Palahniuk
The association was set to move forward last spring, then realized it didn't have its ducks in a row and essentially requested a Congressional bailout.Pat Forde
I was sure I had all of my ducks in a row before the event finally arrived. Somehow, it didn't turn out as planned.Jerry Carlson
… had prepared for a year, meeting with institutional investors and putting its ducks in a row for public scrutiny for months …Alex Konrad
b
: the flesh of any of these birds used as food
The menu features roast duck.
2
: a female duck compare drake
3
: person, creature
You lucky duck!
see also odd duck
4
chiefly British : darling
often used in plural but singular in construction
'You all right, ducks?' Mum asked. 'You've got no colour at all.'Nan Chauncy

Illustration of duck

Illustration of duck
  • 1 bean
  • 2 bill
  • 3 nostril
  • 4 head
  • 5 eye
  • 6 auricular region
  • 7 neck
  • 8 cape
  • 9 shoulder
  • 10 11 wing coverts
  • 12 saddle
  • 13 secondaries
  • 14 primaries
  • 15 rump
  • 16 drake feathers
  • 17 tail
  • 18 tail coverts
  • 19 down
  • 20 shank
  • 21 web
  • 22 breast
  • 23 wing front
  • 24 wing bow

duck

2 of 4

verb

ducked; ducking; ducks

intransitive verb

1
a
: to lower the head or body suddenly : dodge
b
: bow, bob
2
a
: to move quickly
b
: to evade a duty, question, or responsibility
3
a
: to plunge under the surface of water
b
: to descend suddenly : dip

transitive verb

1
: to lower (the head, the body, etc.) quickly : bow
2
: avoid, evade
duck the issue
3
British : to thrust (someone or something) underwater : dunk
ducker noun

duck

3 of 4

noun (2)

: an instance of ducking

duck

4 of 4

noun (3)

1
: a durable closely woven usually cotton fabric
2
ducks plural : light clothes and especially trousers made of duck

Examples of duck in a Sentence

Verb The ceiling was so low I had to duck my head. He ducked his head so they wouldn't see him. We can't afford to duck the issue any longer. They've been ducking each other for months. She ducked into a store when it started to rain. He ducked around a corner. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
One man carrying a small boy and a bouquet of roses ducked around crime tape to enter the glass doors to the school. Emily Davies, Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2024 When Escola took their curtain call, the screams and cheers roared from the standing ovation, only ending when Escola quickly bowed and then ducked straight back behind the curtain. Ct Jones, Rolling Stone, 6 Feb. 2024 Clearwater police told Fox 13 that Schifano could not provide any proof of employment or duty after he was caught ducking under the crime scene tape and entering the crash site. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 5 Feb. 2024 The epithet had reportedly been shouted at Kissinger by hecklers the year before, during the disengagement negotiations with Syria, in an apparent parroting of Richard Nixon, who was said to have denigrated him in this way. Kissinger, joined by Rabin, winced and ducked back inside. Jordan Castro, Harper's Magazine, 9 Jan. 2024 Consciously or not, that’s why Haley ducked the truth. Sun Sentinel Editorial Board, Sun Sentinel, 2 Jan. 2024 Earlier this month, 23 people needed rescuing in Killington, Vermont, after ducking a boundary rope to ski and snowboard out-of-bounds on a particularly good powder day—the kind that’s getting vanishingly rare in the Northeast. Talia Barrington, The Atlantic, 31 Jan. 2024 Three live ones scaled a wall near a prep table A live roach seen ducking into an electrical socket and a dead roach legs up on a prep table caused a failed callback inspection on Friday. David J. Neal, Miami Herald, 26 Jan. 2024 West does best to duck, and South leads the jack, throwing another club. Frank Stewart, The Mercury News, 18 Jan. 2024
Noun
Expect coffee and pastries in the morning, and approachable French cuisine later on in the day, including duck fat fried chicken. Heidi Finley, Charlotte Observer, 16 Feb. 2024 Bonus: The leftover duck fat makes the roasted veggie side dish taste great. Sarah Martens, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 Down filling is made from the soft plumage under a duck or goose’s feathers and is known for its ability to provide warmth and fluffiness to a variety of goods with minimal weight. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 11 Feb. 2024 And duck is such an important part of Cantonese cuisine. Alison Herman, Variety, 10 Feb. 2024 On the menu was a traditional roast duck and a Swedish princess cake, and at each place setting sat a small red cashmere pouch with a small white heart at the bottom right corner and a place card with a custom portrait drawn by illustrator Joana Avillez. Laird Borrelli-Persson, Vogue, 10 Feb. 2024 Participants can make creations in a craft room, take in a film, create shaving sculptures in a wet sensory room, swing in the dry sensory room, chill in a quiet room, duck under a limbo pole and ride trains from room to room. Linda Friedel, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 In many cases, territorial ducks at a pond will kill newcomers. Sue Manning, Kansas City Star, 1 Feb. 2024 Scouting is absolutely critical to success in the duck blind, and onX is one of the best scouting tools in existence. Ryan Chelius, Field & Stream, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'duck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English duk, doke, from Old English dūce

Verb

Middle English douken; akin to Old High German tūhhan to dive, Old English dūce duck

Noun (3)

Dutch doek cloth; akin to Old High German tuoh cloth

First Known Use

Noun (1)

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Noun (2)

1554, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of duck was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near duck

Cite this Entry

“Duck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duck. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

duck

1 of 4 noun
plural duck or ducks
: any of various typically web-footed swimming birds with the neck and legs short, the body heavy, the bill often broad and flat, and the males and females usually differing in color
also : the flesh of a duck used as food

duck

2 of 4 verb
1
: to thrust or plunge underwater
2
: to lower the head or body suddenly
3
: to move quickly : disappear suddenly
he ducked around the corner to escape detection
4
: to evade a duty, question, or responsibility : dodge entry 2
ducked our question
ducker noun

duck

3 of 4 noun
1
: a coarse usually cotton cloth
2
plural : clothes made of duck

duck

4 of 4 noun
: an amphibious truck
Etymology

Noun

Old English dūce "duck"

Verb

Middle English douken "thrust under water"

Noun

from Dutch doek "cloth"

Noun

altered form of DUKW, military code name for this vehicle

Medical Definition

duck

noun
plural ducks or duck
: any of various swimming birds (family Anatidae, the duck family) in which the neck and legs are short, the feet typically webbed, the bill often broad and flat, and the sexes usually different from each other in plumage

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