lame duck


Definition of lame duck

1 : one that is weak or that falls behind in ability or achievement especially, chiefly British : an ailing company
2 : an elected official or group continuing to hold political office during the period between the election and the inauguration of a successor
3 : one whose position or term of office will soon end

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Other Words from lame duck

lame-duck \ ˈlām-​ˈdək How to pronounce lame-duck (audio) \ adjective

Examples of lame duck in a Sentence

The President was a lame duck during the end of his second term.
Recent Examples on the Web The resulting uncertainty puts the political elite off balance, helping to ensure that Putin avoids becoming a lame duck and remains the pivot around which the country revolves. Andrew Higgins,, "Russian premier resigns, as Putin calls for constitutional overhaul," 15 Jan. 2020 Angela Merkel, a lame duck in German politics, may want to avoid a standoff that threatens her country’s faltering economy. Washington Post, "Brussels Prepares for Its Next Brexit Punch-Up," 14 Dec. 2019 Trump also tweeted praise Tuesday for Italy’s lame duck prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, who was forced to resign last week amid a call for new elections by Italy’s ascendant populist interior minister, Matteo Salvini. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, "Bugged and storming: Trump lashes out about bedbugs and nuking hurricanes," 27 Aug. 2019 The franchise has yet to offer any public statement regarding its head coach, whose contract expires Jan. 14 and who has been presumed to be a lame duck for at least a month. Mike Finger,, "Dallas Cowboys’ coaching saga veering into absurdity," 4 Jan. 2020 But Lutsenko became a political lame duck after President Petro Poroshenko was defeated in a landslide by Volodymyr Zelenksy in the April presidential elections. NBC News, "Rudy's helpers: A guide to the controversial figures assisting Giuliani in Ukraine," 22 Dec. 2019 The Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, will be a lame duck in his final full year in power. The Economist, "Making up is hard to do The Gulf states reconsider their feud with Qatar," 18 Dec. 2019 Germany flirts with recession, its chancellor is a lame duck, the grand coalition hosts an SPD under far-left leadership, and the largest opposition party is the Alternative for Germany. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "Present at the Demolition," 14 Dec. 2019 Iran faces parliamentary elections in February and a Presidential election in 2021; Rouhani is now a lame duck. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, "Could Iran’s Revolution Unravel Over a Four-Cent Price Hike?," 6 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lame duck.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lame duck

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for lame duck

Time Traveler

The first known use of lame duck was in 1761

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Statistics for lame duck

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lame duck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for lame duck

lame duck


Financial Definition of lame duck

What It Is

A lame duck is a person who has gone bankrupt or is in default. In politics, a lame duck is a politician whose tenure is about to end.

How It Works

For example, let's say John Doe has lost money on every trade he has made during the last 20 months. He is a lame duck.

Why It Matters

The world of money has many colorful terms. This term is one of many that describe bad investments, bad investors and other aspects of the downside of investing.

Source: Investing Answers

lame duck


English Language Learners Definition of lame duck

chiefly US : an elected official whose time in an office or position will soon end
chiefly British : a person, company, etc., that is weak or unsuccessful and needs help

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Spanish Central: Translation of lame duck

Nglish: Translation of lame duck for Spanish Speakers

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