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

Maybe there is a happy ending in store for this ugly duckling hue, after all. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "52 Color Swatches To Match The World's Ugliest Color," 16 Aug. 2016 Did his school chums not know about the whole ugly duckling phenomenon? Lauren Le Vine, Redbook, "Morning Headlines: Even Superman Worries About His Weight — and More," 30 May 2013

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

The first known use of ugly duckling was in 1869

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More Definitions for ugly duckling

ugly duckling


English Language Learners Definition of ugly duckling

: a person or thing that is not attractive or successful but that is likely to become attractive or successful in the future

More from Merriam-Webster on ugly duckling

Nglish: Translation of ugly duckling for Spanish Speakers

Comments on ugly duckling

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


to take the place or position of

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