sitting duck


Definition of sitting duck

: an easy or defenseless target

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Synonyms for sitting duck


butt, mark, prey, target, victim

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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

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 The new bases were sitting ducks, American planners sniffed, and could be taken out quickly in an actual conflict. The Economist, "China has put missiles on islands in the South China Sea," 10 May 2018 For several years, high school grads such as Leos were sitting ducks for the Selective Service. Roy Bragg, San Antonio Express-News, "Better running through paperwork," 15 Apr. 2018 No worries that a steady diet of memorizing content and drilling on low-level procedures produces young adults who are sitting ducks in the innovation economy. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "Venture capitalist visits 200 schools in 50 states and says DeVos is wrong: ‘If choice and competition improve schools, I found no sign of it.’," 15 Mar. 2018 Just like that, The Saviors are sitting ducks and get chewed to pieces. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "'The Walking Dead' Season 8, Episode 13 recap: The battle for The Hilltop leaves things hanging by a thread," 26 Mar. 2018 Without such protections, people are sitting ducks for larvae in sand or soil. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Couple freaks after tabloids spread medical pics of their worm-infested bums," 1 Mar. 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.

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First Known Use of sitting duck

1942, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for sitting duck

Last Updated

11 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for sitting duck

The first known use of sitting duck was in 1942

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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.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sitting duck

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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).


concealment of treason or felony

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