duck

noun (1), often attributive
\ ˈdək How to pronounce duck (audio) \
plural ducks

Definition of duck

 (Entry 1 of 4)

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 JenkinsI'm to prepare for a formal review in two weeks. Reserve a conference room. Get all my ducks in a row.— Chuck PalahniukThe 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 FordeI 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

duck

verb
ducked; ducking; ducks

Definition of duck (Entry 2 of 4)

intransitive verb

1a : to lower the head or body suddenly : dodge
b : bow, bob
2a : to move quickly
b : to evade a duty, question, or responsibility
3a : 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

duck

noun (2)

Definition of duck (Entry 3 of 4)

: an instance of ducking

duck

noun (3)

Definition of duck (Entry 4 of 4)

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

Illustration of duck

Illustration of duck

Noun (1)

duck 1a (male): 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

In the meaning defined above

Other Words from duck

Verb

ducker noun

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

First Known Use of duck

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

History and Etymology for duck

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

Learn More About duck

Time Traveler for duck

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near duck

duchy

duck

duck's ass

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for duck

Cite this Entry

“Duck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duck. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for duck

duck

noun
\ ˈdək How to pronounce duck (audio) \

Kids Definition of duck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a swimming bird that has a broad flat bill and is smaller than the related goose and swan

duck

verb
ducked; ducking

Kids Definition of duck (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to push under water for a moment The swan ducked its head.
2 : to lower the head or body suddenly You have to duck through the doorway.
3 : to avoid by moving quickly He ducked the punch.
4 : to avoid a duty, question, or responsibility Let's duck out of work early.

duck

noun
\ ˈdək How to pronounce duck (audio) \
plural ducks or duck

Medical Definition of 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

More from Merriam-Webster on duck

Nglish: Translation of duck for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of duck for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about duck

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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