ugly duckling

noun
|Updated on: 29 May 2018

Definition of ugly duckling

: one that appears very unpromising but often has great potential

Examples of ugly duckling in a Sentence

  1. The house is an ugly duckling, but it has a lot of potential.

Recent Examples of ugly duckling from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of ugly duckling

The Ugly Duckling, story by Hans Christian Andersen


UGLY DUCKLING Defined for English Language Learners

ugly duckling

Definition of ugly duckling for English Language Learners

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


Learn More about ugly duckling


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a figure representing a hated person

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a-closeup-of-a-sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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