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

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 display unfolded during the first voting session of the lame duck period, the timeframe between November’s election and the start of the new Legislature in January. Fox News, 4 Dec. 2021 Everyone involved says this is a foregone conclusion, but the moment spring training camps open, the Dodgers manager is officially a lame duck. Los Angeles Times, 10 Mar. 2022 DeWine will speak as the state legislature meets for a marathon lame duck session. cleveland, 17 Dec. 2020 Despite positive job numbers in October, Ohio’s economy continues to struggle, and a local policy group says lawmakers should focus on legislation to keep businesses open and Ohioans working during the current lame duck and upcoming regular session. J.d. Davidson, Washington Examiner, 23 Nov. 2020 No score will be high enough after lame duck LSU coach Ed Orgeron befouled the Crimson Tide’s stadium in 2019. Joseph Goodman |, al, 4 Nov. 2021 For stock and bond markets that have relied on the generosity of the Fed and other global central banks, a lame duck Fed chair could be a problem. Vineer Bhansali, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2021 Patrick Baker seemed to get away with homicide when lame duck Republican Gov. Matt Bevin pardoned him in 2019 for fatally shooting Donald Mills five years earlier during a Knox County home invasion. Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal, 11 Aug. 2021 So Afghanistan has had its day and bitcoin is now a dead or lame duck in its biggest market. Clem Chambers, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of lame duck

1761, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About lame duck

Time Traveler for lame duck

Time Traveler

The first known use of lame duck was in 1761

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near lame duck


lame duck


See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lame duck

Last Updated

30 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Lame duck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lame duck

Nglish: Translation of lame duck for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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