Main definitions of duck in English

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck1

noun

  • 1A waterbird with a broad blunt bill, short legs, webbed feet, and a waddling gait.

    • ‘Wetlands are a lure for geese, swans, ducks, egrets, storks, herons and the icon of the Camargue, the pink flamingo.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small duck waddling toward me.’
    • ‘We stood there in awkward silence, shuffling our feet gawkily like ducks do when they are hungry.’
    • ‘The rear feet of the beaver are large and webbed like a duck's feet, to give the animal good swimming ability.’
    • ‘Then Nikolai noticed the heron and the duck waddling up the hill behind Dmitri.’
    • ‘Geese, ducks, sparrows, and hawks are heading south in numbers.’
    • ‘They watched in silence as a pair of ducks waddled across the lawn and waded into the pond.’
    • ‘In this area, ducks, wading birds, and shorebirds are awaiting your visit.’
    • ‘The duck, whose feet remained free while its feathers stuck to the ice, attracted public sympathy after efforts to free it failed.’
    • ‘Then, at the next hole, a duck waddled onto the green just as Love was lining up a putt.’
    • ‘Birds as diverse as parakeet, egrets, ducks, terns, and plovers were plummeting in numbers.’
    • ‘There were turkeys, geese, ducks and chickens and guinea fowl on sale.’
    • ‘Flocks of birds, including large ducks, Egyptian geese and dabchicks, were coated in oil on Wednesday.’
    • ‘As home, migratory stop and breeding ground, Saskatchewan hosts over 25 percent of the continent's ducks and geese.’
    • ‘The teals, mallards and other small ducks were all paddling about.’
    • ‘Interesting water birds and several species of ducks and warblers nest there.’
    • ‘It's not only humans who appreciate the food at this pink-washed cottage opposite Danbury's duck pond - the ducks waddle over for any leftovers.’
    • ‘The Canvasback is a medium-sized duck with an elegant pattern of black, russet, and white.’
    • ‘Wild birds may carry these infections, but they typically prove most harmful to domestic fowl like chickens, ducks, and turkeys.’
    • ‘International cuisine uses the eggs of other birds, including ducks, geese, sparrows, quails and ostriches, but it is the hen that has been universally domesticated.’
    1. 1.1A female duck.
      Contrasted with drake
      • ‘The other day while walking along the footpath opposite the park I noticed seven or eight drakes surrounding a female duck and her ten ducklings.’
      • ‘The female shows the same silhouette but is a brown duck whose crest is often obscured.’
    2. 1.2A duck as food.
      [mass noun] ‘a tangy stew of duck, lamb, and sausage’
      • ‘Like most of the sauces here, the duck's citrus glaze is notably reserved.’
      • ‘Thickly slice the duck and serve it on the parsnip purée, scattered with a little extra thyme.’
      • ‘A small tear trickled down Lisa's face as I savored my duck.’
      • ‘The mail-order range has now been extended to include beef, duck, lamb, chicken, pheasant and goose.’
      • ‘I'm not trying to suggest that Susie's roast venison or my duck with caramelised apple could be described as a horror show, but neither were they worthy of the setting.’
      • ‘The duck bakes for precisely seven minutes and rests for precisely seven minutes.’
      • ‘From there it is into the duck, chicken, pork, beef, vegetables and bean curd, rice and noodles.’
      • ‘I have the Thai mussels as a starter and they're fabulous - the crispy duck, and deep fried rolls with chilli jam are tasty too.’
      • ‘From a nutritional perspective, the duck, cucumber, spring onion and pancakes make a reasonably well-balanced meal.’
      • ‘Season the cavity of the duck with salt and pepper and truss with kitchen string.’
      • ‘The roast duck was good, and so was the grilled lobster, despite a weirdly glowing sidecar of basil mashed potatoes.’
      • ‘Stir in the date syrup with the lemon juice, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the duck is tender.’
      • ‘Add duck meat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.’
      • ‘Cook the duck until tender, then add the potatoes and onion.’
      • ‘Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan, then sear the duck skin-side down over gentle heat for five to ten minutes or until the skin is crisp, draining off the fat as it renders.’
      • ‘The duck and chicken I sampled were both flavored with balsamic vinegar, and both were overdone.’
      • ‘In a heavy, flameproof casserole, cook the sausages and duck in the olive oil until their fat runs and the sausages and duck are golden on all sides.’
      • ‘His duck's sweetness is amplified by roasted rhubarb; snapper's nuttiness is made prominent by a ginger-soy nage.’
      • ‘His garlic duck sausage with black mustard is the hot dog of your dreams.’
      • ‘The bread is perfectly toasted, the duck is perfectly tender, and those waffle chips are scrumptious.’
  • 2A pure white thin-shelled bivalve mollusc found off the Atlantic coasts of America.

  • 3An amphibious transport vehicle.

    ‘visitors can board an amphibious duck to explore the city’
    • ‘The ducks are fully restored, U.S. Coast Guard approved vessels.’
    • ‘The duck boats hugged the shore, giving fans an up-close view of the championship trophy and the players.’
    • ‘Today, a ride in a duck does not involve battles!’
    • ‘Land or sea, this duck does it all.’
    • ‘The Los Angeles City Council is floating an idea to bring duck boats to the downtown area of the LA River.’
    • ‘Winston Churchill was given a guided tour of the D-Day beaches in a duck.’
    • ‘30 tourists were today forced to jump off a burning duck boat into the River Thames as it sank.’
    • ‘The duck boats are still parked in dry dock.’
    • ‘Among the more unusual vehicles contributing to the relief effort a duck boat drafted in to help flooded residents in Windsor today.’

Phrases

  • get (or have) one's ducks in a row

    • informal Get (or have) one's facts straight; get (or have) everything organized.

      ‘I want to have my ducks in a row before I go in there and confront them’
      • ‘The Europe team, on the other hand, got their ducks in a row in no uncertain terms and are standing tall.’
      • ‘Normally, financing details of a deal of this magnitude take several months, but Blank got his ducks in a row quickly.’
      • ‘I find it hard to get my ducks in a row at the best of times but today was the first time since about last August that I felt a little in control of life.’
      • ‘‘January is the time to get your ducks in a row,’ advises Liza Mason, a managing partner for Premier Ventures, which owns and operates four high-volume restaurants in Denver.’
      • ‘The other board members pay attention if I present my case forcefully, and I can be enough of a pain that they make sure they have their ducks in a row before bringing up any new spending increase.’
      • ‘‘You can't get a public fund-raising campaign going if you don't have your ducks in a row,’ he says.’
      • ‘The crew worked together to get our ducks in a row as we headed back to the ship.’
      • ‘Another factor pushed them to hurry the project: the need to get their ducks in a row before they ran out of time.’
      • ‘If you are trying to get 100 musicians to play your symphony, you had better have your ducks in a row before you walk into the hall with an armload of scores.’
      • ‘It's naive to think that they'd do anything unless they have their ducks in a row.’
  • like water off a duck's back

    • Referring to a potentially hurtful remark which has no apparent effect on the person involved.

      ‘it was like water off a duck's back to Nick, but I'm sure it upset Paul’
      • ‘That's water off a duck's back to a man like Graham, who seven minutes later, saw his side take the lead.’
      • ‘It's all water off a duck's back really, but I would like to point out a couple of things.’
      • ‘Either way, the woman's unfriendly comments are like water off a duck's back to John.’
      • ‘Today, snobbery about musicals and their hijacking of the worldwide stage is water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘They make it seem as if the war slid off Hemingway like water off a duck's back and have asked us to understand that some of his most admired war stories are not really war stories after all.’
      • ‘We are used to getting flak from the public over the vehicles we book, so it is water off a duck's back to us.’
      • ‘However, if the intention was to shame him then it failed because my friend told me it seemed to run off him like water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘Whenever other people came under fire, they tried to deflect it elsewhere, but it's water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘They shed hardships of camp life like water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘But the criticism rolls off him like water off a duck's back.’
  • take to something like a duck to water

    • Take to something very readily.

      ‘he shows every sign of taking to University politics like a duck to water’
      • ‘She had only been playing for a few months and took to it like a duck to water.’
      • ‘It was difficult for the students, but I took to it like a duck to water.’
      • ‘He took to it like a duck to water and we have been astonished at his fast progress.’
      • ‘‘He's only driven a Carrera Cup car once at Snetterton, but he took to it like a duck to water,’ says Mortimer senior.’
      • ‘‘In those days, there were not many girls doing the pole vault but Kim just took to it like a duck to water,’ he says.’
      • ‘She not only took to it like a duck to water but she went on to become one of the foremost wine professionals in the country.’
      • ‘Donna has been helping out her older brothers since a very young age so she took to it like a duck to water.’
      • ‘Helen took to the dance routine like a duck to water.’
      • ‘I took to the video recorder like a duck to water.’
      • ‘I've said all along that the long rounds will suit me and I took to them like a duck to water.’

Origin

Old English duce, from the Germanic base of duck (expressing the notion of ‘diving bird’).

Pronunciation:

duck

/dʌk/

Main definitions of duck in English

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck2

verb

  • 1[no object] Lower the head or the body quickly to avoid a blow or missile or so as not to be seen.

    ‘spectators ducked for cover’
    [with object] ‘he ducked his head and entered’
    • ‘Clark did his best not to shuffle his feet or duck his head.’
    • ‘Avoiding the rain he ducked into a nearby building and fled downstairs to take a covered shortcut to his work area.’
    • ‘She quickly ducked into a corner as the stone fell loudly down the stair case.’
    • ‘Gusts of wind battered him; he ducked into the office and laid the key on the counter.’
    • ‘I ducked into the first washroom I came across, locked myself in the first stall and clenched my eyes shut, silent sobs making my chest heave.’
    • ‘Martin followed Rocky out of the classroom, and they ducked into a corner to avoid the mass of students.’
    • ‘Droplets of rain had already fallen, and he quickly ducked into his car to avoid being drenched by the rain.’
    • ‘Abbey ducked into the bathroom, and I continued on to our classroom.’
    • ‘Lance ducked into the garage holding a small radio in his hand.’
    • ‘I declined politely and then ducked into the nearest shop just to escape him.’
    • ‘As they turned around, Cary ducked into a cave to avoid being seen.’
    • ‘Soaked, I ducked into Rubenstein's Furniture Store to get out of the rain.’
    • ‘I ducked into the next room, quickly moving behind the curtain.’
    • ‘Thinking quickly, I grabbed Jared by the arm and ducked into the nearest classroom.’
    • ‘We ducked into one of the food outlets at the top of the mountain and had a drink, waiting for the rain to subside.’
    • ‘Quickly, Nat ducked into his closet, hoping his father might just leave the house soon.’
    • ‘When one followed me near my own block, I ducked into a bodega for a bottle of water.’
    • ‘She ducked into the shop and pulled the scarf from her head.’
    • ‘He quickly ducked into the building and ran for the nearest lift.’
    • ‘She quickly ducked into an open classroom, trying to get a peek at the kid as he left the school.’
    bob down, bow down, hunch down, hunker down, sit on one's haunches
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Depart quickly.
      ‘I thought I saw you duck out’
    2. 1.2[with object]Avoid (a blow or missile) by moving quickly.
      ‘he ducked a punch from an angry first baseman’
      • ‘Kino smiled, laughed, and ducked the blow like he could read the chief's mind.’
      • ‘She swung at him two more times and he ducked both of those blows as well.’
      • ‘Their jobs can be so tough that at times they even have to duck punches from troublesome beachgoers.’
      • ‘I ducked a blow, then kicked someone else away, looking desperately around for the door again.’
      • ‘Cyrus ducked the blow and landed another punch to James' stomach, knocking the wind from him and sending him to the ground again.’
      • ‘He ducked a decapitating blow and crossed his swords above his head, just in time to block a downward slash.’
      • ‘He ducked a blow from a horseman riding up close to him and then grabbed onto the man's leg.’
      • ‘She ducked the wild blow easily, and Jon stepped in, snatching the boy's stick from him and tossing it into the woods.’
      • ‘He ducks a few blows and hits the other person a few times before the fight is called.’
      • ‘They will have expected you to duck this punch and instead you let the blow bounce of your granite chin like an errant moth.’
      • ‘The leader ducked the blow and brought the axe around in a sweeping arc straight for Drew's knees.’
      • ‘Nick, in a fit of rage and pain took another swing at Will, who merely ducked the blow.’
      • ‘He barely ducks the bullets as his eyes widen when they fly towards him.’
      • ‘A friend at school had his eye shot by another lad ‘over something silly’, and Pierre once had to duck bullets from a sniper outside his home.’
      • ‘I ducked his punch and pulled his feet from underneath him with my feet.’
      • ‘He ducked the blow and countered it, his own fist connecting with my jaw and his knee finding its way to my stomach.’
      • ‘My whimpers became wails and I tried to duck his blows.’
      • ‘He ducked one, two blows, before Yenny caught him on the shoulder.’
      • ‘But he ducked the blow and darted his head back up colliding with Kung's chin.’
      • ‘Then he had to duck a punch that would have detached his jaw.’
    3. 1.3informal [with object]Evade or avoid (an unwelcome duty or undertaking)
      ‘a responsibility which a less courageous man might well have ducked’
      [no object] ‘I was engaged twice and ducked out both times’
      • ‘And none of this is meant to suggest that the editorial page editor can use the policy to duck responsibility for inaccuracies on the page.’
      • ‘Yet the necessary reforms to improve productivity have been ducked by government.’
      • ‘Thank goodness we've ducked out of the dinner party thing.’
      • ‘I always thought that schools were places where children were taught to use grown-up equipment properly and it seems to be abrogating educational responsibility to duck out of teaching the right way to handle real javelins.’
      • ‘It also ducks out of the more difficult questions of how you define what is right in more ambiguous times.’
      • ‘And you can understand why she might want to duck out occasionally; aside from the required smoking and drinking, carrying this one-woman show seems pretty demanding.’
      • ‘Someone who is ducking responsibility for his own actions is hardly in a strong position to call someone else to account.’
      • ‘This low-level approach sought to duck the unwelcome publicity surrounding the sentencing of refuseniks.’
      • ‘Sometimes referred to as the ‘master magician’, he was criticised for ducking out of a previous hearing of the committee.’
      • ‘Only the bravery of Sinitsin saw him through an ordeal which many another boxer would have ducked out of long before the end.’
      • ‘In fact I hope I don't end up ducking out of saying a name on the phone, too.’
      • ‘Is the closure of Internet chat rooms more about ducking responsibility than child safety?’
      • ‘She had to duck out of the new Oliver Stone flick ‘Beyond Borders’ because the role of a wartime social worker, opposite Kevin Costner, would have been a bit of a stretch.’
      • ‘During the treatment there were times when I wanted to duck out.’
      • ‘But the principle is the same: we cannot duck our responsibilities by saying that the other party took part freely.’
      • ‘At 18, she ducked out of the limelight, but after several years in retirement, she picked up her skills again.’
      • ‘Whatever else that is, it's hardly ducking responsibility.’
      • ‘Shunning the media and ducking a direct interaction will only cause more damage to the system, if it has not already, with the athletes flopping badly.’
      • ‘Those who duck this obligation ill-serve the country.’
      • ‘For the last few years of school life I ducked out of sports altogether by pretending I had singing lessons.’
  • 2[with object] Push or plunge (someone) under water, either playfully or as a punishment.

    ‘Rufus grabbed him from behind to duck him under the surface’
    • ‘Offenders could be ducked in water.’
    • ‘Players, including William, were ducked under the water and roughly tackled by the opposing side.’
    • ‘It is no more a proper trial than ducking witches used to be.’
    dip, dunk, plunge, immerse, submerge, lower, sink
    View synonyms
  • 3Bridge
    [no object] Refrain from playing a winning card on a particular trick for tactical reasons.

    ‘declarer ducked the opening spade lead’

noun

  • [in singular] A quick lowering of the head.

    • ‘Then a quick duck brought him under the demon's arm.’

Phrases

  • duck and dive

    • Use one's ingenuity to deal with or evade a situation.

      ‘she was all for a bit of ducking and diving, that's how everyone lived’
      • ‘Asked what Bisho's response was, he said: ‘They duck and dive all the time.’’
      • ‘When I walk down the street I don't have to duck and dive, I can meet these people and talk to them.’
      • ‘He tried to duck and dive the very serious matters that were raised under his rule.’
      • ‘They cannot duck and dive that question any longer.’
      • ‘Take a bit of a chance here and duck and dive a bit there.’
      • ‘Mogoba said to make allegations of corruption was not a crime, ‘but to duck and dive is suspicious in the extreme’.’
      • ‘There are many who would circumvent the issue, duck and dive rather than handle the hot potato that the case has become during these last ten years.’
      • ‘Four Belfast friends duck and dive on the fringes of legality in an attempt to make a fast buck and improve their lot.’
      • ‘It mostly seeks to duck and dive to avoid taking responsibility for the crass way this country is now managed on our behalf.’
      • ‘You see, he may duck and dive, but he cannot escape the fact that the defendants have failed to prove in any shape or form that he acted improperly, or tried to act improperly, in any game.’

Origin

Middle English: of Germanic origin; related to Dutch duiken and German tauchen dive, dip, plunge, also to duck.

Pronunciation:

duck

/dʌk/

Main definitions of duck in English

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck3

(also ducks)

noun

British
informal
  • Dear; darling (used as an informal or affectionate form of address, especially among cockneys)

    ‘it's time you changed, my duck’
    ‘where've yer been, ducks!’

Origin

Late 16th century: from duck.

Pronunciation:

duck

/dʌk/

Main definitions of duck in English

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck4

noun

  • 1[mass noun] A strong linen or cotton fabric, used chiefly for work clothes and sails.

    ‘cotton duck’
    • ‘Some of them are made of cotton duck.’
    • ‘Then, in 1941, the mill again served by producing cotton duck for tents to shelter our soldiers in World War II.’
    • ‘Sailcloth is a very strong, heavy canvas or duck made in plain weave.’
    • ‘Cut the diaper cover pieces from the yellow cotton duck or broadcloth according to the pattern guidesheet.’
    • ‘If stripes aren't your style, experiment with other casual fabrics, such as cotton duck, denim, and corduroy.’
    • ‘I am interested in dyeing 35 yards of cotton duck for slipcovers for a sofa.’
    1. 1.1Trousers made of duck.

Origin

Mid 17th century: from Middle Dutch doek linen, linen cloth; related to German Tuch cloth.

Pronunciation:

duck

/dʌk/

Main definitions of duck in English

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck5

noun

Cricket
  • A batsman's score of nought.

    ‘he was out for a duck’
    • ‘But he also made seven ducks in 30 innings, and a couple of chaps called Greenidge and Haynes made getting back into the side virtually impossible.’
    • ‘They never talk about when I got Len Hutton out for a duck, at Lord's in 1954!’
    • ‘Laker's tally of eight ducks inflicted in that famous match against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956 is the record for a single Test.’
    • ‘I remember that Gundappa Viswanath scored a duck and a century on his Test debut - has anyone else done this?’
    • ‘Stillington made major inroads into Harrogate's batting as they dismissed three home batsmen for ducks.’

Phrases

  • break one's duck

    • 1Score the first run of one's innings.

      • ‘In October 2004 they came within one wicket of their inaugural Test victory, against Pakistan at Multan, and earlier this year they finally broke their duck by seeing off their fellow minnows, Zimbabwe, in a two-Test home series.’
      • ‘Heysham finally broke their duck in the top flight of local cricket - with a fairly routine six wicket triumph over fellow strugglers Ibis.’
      • ‘They can break their duck next Saturday at Clifton Park against lowly Old Crossleyans.’
      • ‘The bloodlust was almost satisfied as the Tasmanian tried to break his duck with a risky run to cover, where Kevin Pietersen pounced and threw and missed the stumps by the length of a rat's tail.’
      • ‘He really broke his duck last Sunday, though, a little lucky to survive a run-out chance on his way to 114.’
      1. 1.1British Make one's first score or achieve a particular feat for the first time.
        ‘it was not until injury time that the Dark Blues broke their duck’
        • ‘But we will be looking for Dele to break his duck in tomorrow's game.’
        • ‘It was rare, the captain pointed out, for novice sailors to break their duck with a Channel crossing.’
        • ‘Ashton broke his duck against Boro and will be looking for Huckerby to use his pace to provide him with a scoring opportunity to demonstrate why Worthington paid £3 million for his services.’
        • ‘The 3-1 victory at Lancaster City on Tuesday broke their duck in terms of both goals and points this year.’
        • ‘On the other flank, former Halifax winger Oli Marns broke his duck in his seventh game and went on to claim a hat-trick.’
        • ‘Paradise Isle, runner-up in all her three races and narrowly beaten at York on Evening Press Sunday Raceday, seeks to break her duck at Pontefract tomorrow.’
        • ‘In the midweek game between Tottenham and Manchester City the young Portuguese front man Postiga finally broke his duck and netted his first goal for the club, he then ran to the stand of Spurs fans and threw his shirt into the crowd.’
        • ‘The Rotherham defence was under pressure straight away in the second half and they held out well until Cueto finally found a way through and broke his duck for the season, with van Straaten again on target.’
        • ‘Slipper finally broke their duck in York John Smith's Ladies Darts League division one in a hard battle at Flag.’
        • ‘Skipton finally broke their duck after 48 minutes when Mark Davison burst free and fed winger Matthew Wilson, who scored an unconverted try.’

Origin

Mid 19th century: short for duck's egg, used for the figure 0 because of its similar outline.

Pronunciation:

duck

/dʌk/