ugly duckling


Definition of ugly duckling

: one that appears very unpromising but often has great potential

Examples of ugly duckling in a Sentence

The house is an ugly duckling, but it has a lot of potential.
Recent Examples on the Web Now, like the ugly duckling that became a swan, the nearly $2 trillion crypto market—with all of its warts—seems to be undergoing a glow-up in the eyes of some of the world's most powerful financial institutions. Declan Harty, Fortune, 7 Apr. 2022 The soaring demand for warehouses, once the ugly duckling of the real estate industry, underscores their pivotal role in a complex global supply chain. New York Times, 16 Mar. 2022 The medium itself has long been the ugly duckling of American culture, a stealth art form whose secret, swanlike identity (more bird than plane) has been accorded widespread acclaim only in the past few decades. Michael Saler, WSJ, 4 Nov. 2021 So now, single and dateless, Padgett accepts a challenge to transform the school’s resident ugly duckling into an enviable hunk. Luke Winkie, Vulture, 1 Sep. 2021 The swimming pool, spa, contemporary decor (including custom furniture, signature joinery, and bespoke details like fixtures and lighting), and generous interior space turned the ugly duckling into a swan. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 28 July 2021 After decades of being treated as the proverbial ugly duckling of the skin-care world, sunscreen seems to be finally getting its due appreciation and attention. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, 10 June 2021 An Australian ballroom dancer makes an ugly duckling his partner and dares in competition to go flamenco. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr. 2021 An Australian ballroom dancer makes an ugly duckling his partner and dares in competition to go flamenco. Ed Stockly, Los Angeles Times, 9 Apr. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of ugly duckling

1869, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ugly duckling

The Ugly Duckling, story by Hans Christian Andersen

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Time Traveler for ugly duckling

Time Traveler

The first known use of ugly duckling was in 1869

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Dictionary Entries Near ugly duckling

Ugly American

ugly duckling

ugly-nest caterpillar

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Statistics for ugly duckling

Last Updated

19 Apr 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ugly duckling.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of ugly duckling for Spanish Speakers


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