sitting duck


Definition of sitting duck

: an easy or defenseless target

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for sitting duck


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of sitting duck in a Sentence

The tourists were sitting ducks for local thieves. those stupid comments just made him a sitting duck for comedians
Recent Examples on the Web If something has gone wrong within that process, the antennas are sitting ducks. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Has Lost Contact With Its Ambitious CubeSat Asteria," 6 Jan. 2020 Beyond that, Trump was a dangerous and greedy Washington neophyte, whose imbecility made him a sitting duck for political vultures like Russia, which identified him immediately as someone who might easily be manipulated. Dahleen Glanton, Twin Cities, "Dahleen Glanton: Republicans are right. Democrats wanted to impeach Donald Trump from the start.," 18 Dec. 2019 At Tiananmen, the protesters were gathered in a large public square like sitting ducks where they could be easily mowed down. Marc A. Thiessen, The Mercury News, "Thiessen: Trump has the upper hand in Hong Kong, not China," 16 Aug. 2019 Analysts say that makes cryptocurrency exchanges like sitting ducks. Steven Russolillo And Eun-young Jeong, WSJ, "Cryptocurrency Exchanges Are Getting Hacked Because It’s Easy," 16 July 2018 Manning’s first two throws—a low fastball to Cody Latimer and a dump off to Bennie Fowler, who was a sitting duck for a charging Preston Brown—were bad. Conor Orr,, "Cam Newton’s Foot Injury, a Shortened Field in Canada and More: NFL Preseason Week 3," 23 Aug. 2019 Experts worry that many local governments are sitting ducks; municipalities often lack the funding to keep their security systems up to date. Slade Rand,, "With ransomware attacks spiking across the country, one Connecticut town plans to pay hackers $10K to get its data back," 31 Aug. 2019 Sometimes that made him a bit of a sitting duck when opponents went looking for retaliation after a questionable play. Will Larkin,, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 83, Zuck Carlson," 15 June 2019 Now, Shelton feared, all those satellites overhead had become so many huge, unarmored, billion-dollar sitting ducks. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "The New Arms Race Threatening to Explode in Space," 26 June 2018

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

See More

First Known Use of sitting duck

1942, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about sitting duck

Time Traveler for sitting duck

Time Traveler

The first known use of sitting duck was in 1942

See more words from the same year

Statistics for sitting duck

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Sitting duck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for sitting duck

sitting duck


English Language Learners Definition of sitting duck

: a person or thing that is easy to hit, attack, trick, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on sitting duck

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for sitting duck

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sitting duck

Comments on sitting duck

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!