Main definitions of duck in US English:

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck1

nounPlural ducks

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

    Family Anatidae (the duck family); domesticated ducks are mainly descended from the mallard. The duck family also includes geese and swans, from which ducks are distinguished by their generally smaller size and shorter necks

    • ‘Wild birds may carry these infections, but they typically prove most harmful to domestic fowl like chickens, ducks, and turkeys.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Wetlands are a lure for geese, swans, ducks, egrets, storks, herons and the icon of the Camargue, the pink flamingo.’
    • ‘Then Nikolai noticed the heron and the duck waddling up the hill behind Dmitri.’
    • ‘The rear feet of the beaver are large and webbed like a duck's feet, to give the animal good swimming ability.’
    • ‘They watched in silence as a pair of ducks waddled across the lawn and waded into the pond.’
    • ‘Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small duck waddling toward me.’
    • ‘Geese, ducks, sparrows, and hawks are heading south in numbers.’
    • ‘We stood there in awkward silence, shuffling our feet gawkily like ducks do when they are hungry.’
    • ‘The Canvasback is a medium-sized duck with an elegant pattern of black, russet, and white.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Interesting water birds and several species of ducks and warblers nest there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A duck as food.
      ‘a duck for tomorrow's dinner’
      • ‘His duck's sweetness is amplified by roasted rhubarb; snapper's nuttiness is made prominent by a ginger-soy nage.’
      • ‘Like most of the sauces here, the duck's citrus glaze is notably reserved.’
      • ‘A small tear trickled down Lisa's face as I savored my duck.’
      • ‘Season the cavity of the duck with salt and pepper and truss with kitchen string.’
      • ‘Stir in the date syrup with the lemon juice, and cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the duck is tender.’
      • ‘Thickly slice the duck and serve it on the parsnip purée, scattered with a little extra thyme.’
      • ‘The roast duck was good, and so was the grilled lobster, despite a weirdly glowing sidecar of basil mashed potatoes.’
      • ‘His garlic duck sausage with black mustard is the hot dog of your dreams.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cook the duck until tender, then add the potatoes and onion.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘From a nutritional perspective, the duck, cucumber, spring onion and pancakes make a reasonably well-balanced meal.’
      • ‘The mail-order range has now been extended to include beef, duck, lamb, chicken, pheasant and goose.’
      • ‘The duck and chicken I sampled were both flavored with balsamic vinegar, and both were overdone.’
      • ‘The duck bakes for precisely seven minutes and rests for precisely seven minutes.’
      • ‘Add duck meat and season with salt and white pepper to taste.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The bread is perfectly toasted, the duck is perfectly tender, and those waffle chips are scrumptious.’
      • ‘From there it is into the duck, chicken, pork, beef, vegetables and bean curd, rice and noodles.’
  • 2A pure white thin-shelled bivalve mollusk found off the Atlantic coasts of America.

    Genus Anatina, family Mactridae

  • 3An amphibious transport vehicle.

    • ‘The duck boats hugged the shore, giving fans an up-close view of the championship trophy and the players.’
    • ‘The ducks are fully restored, U.S. Coast Guard approved vessels.’
    • ‘Today, a ride in a duck does not involve battles!’
    • ‘Land or sea, this duck does it all.’
    • ‘Winston Churchill was given a guided tour of the D-Day beaches in a duck.’
    • ‘The Los Angeles City Council is floating an idea to bring duck boats to the downtown area of the LA River.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘30 tourists were today forced to jump off a burning duck boat into the River Thames as it sank.’

Phrases

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

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

      • ‘Another factor pushed them to hurry the project: the need to get their ducks in a row before they ran out of time.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘Normally, financing details of a deal of this magnitude take several months, but Blank got his ducks in a row quickly.’
      • ‘‘You can't get a public fund-raising campaign going if you don't have your ducks in a row,’ he says.’
      • ‘The Europe team, on the other hand, got their ducks in a row in no uncertain terms and are standing tall.’
      • ‘It's naive to think that they'd do anything unless they have their ducks in a row.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The crew worked together to get our ducks in a row as we headed back to the ship.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘It was difficult for the students, but I took to it like a duck to water.’
      • ‘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've said all along that the long rounds will suit me and I took to them like a duck to water.’
      • ‘‘He's only driven a Carrera Cup car once at Snetterton, but he took to it like a duck to water,’ says Mortimer senior.’
      • ‘She had only been playing for a few months and 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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘I took to the video recorder like a duck to water.’
  • water off a duck's back

    • A potentially hurtful or harmful remark or incident that has no apparent effect on the person mentioned.

      ‘it was like water off a duck's back to Nick, but I'm sure it upset Paul’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Either way, the woman's unfriendly comments are like water off a duck's back to John.’
      • ‘But the criticism rolls off him like water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘Today, snobbery about musicals and their hijacking of the worldwide stage is water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's water off a duck's back to a man like Graham, who seven minutes later, saw his side take the lead.’
      • ‘They shed hardships of camp life like water off a duck's back.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's all water off a duck's back really, but I would like to point out a couple of things.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

duck

/dək//dək/

Main definitions of duck in US English:

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck2

verbducks

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

    ‘spectators ducked for cover’
    with object ‘he ducked his head and entered’
    ‘she ducked into the doorway to get out of the line of fire’
    • ‘Abbey ducked into the bathroom, and I continued on to our classroom.’
    • ‘I declined politely and then ducked into the nearest shop just to escape him.’
    • ‘She quickly ducked into a corner as the stone fell loudly down the stair case.’
    • ‘She ducked into the shop and pulled the scarf from her head.’
    • ‘Lance ducked into the garage holding a small radio in his hand.’
    • ‘When one followed me near my own block, I ducked into a bodega for a bottle of water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Quickly, Nat ducked into his closet, hoping his father might just leave the house soon.’
    • ‘Avoiding the rain he ducked into a nearby building and fled downstairs to take a covered shortcut to his work area.’
    • ‘I ducked into the next room, quickly moving behind the curtain.’
    • ‘We ducked into one of the food outlets at the top of the mountain and had a drink, waiting for the rain to subside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Soaked, I ducked into Rubenstein's Furniture Store to get out of the rain.’
    • ‘Thinking quickly, I grabbed Jared by the arm and ducked into the nearest classroom.’
    • ‘Clark did his best not to shuffle his feet or duck his head.’
    • ‘Droplets of rain had already fallen, and he quickly ducked into his car to avoid being drenched by the rain.’
    • ‘Martin followed Rocky out of the classroom, and they ducked into a corner to avoid the mass of students.’
    • ‘As they turned around, Cary ducked into a cave to avoid being seen.’
    bob down, bend, bend down, bow down, stoop, stoop down, crouch, crouch down, squat, squat down, hunch down, hunker down, sit on one's haunches
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1duck out Depart quickly.
      ‘I thought I saw you duck out’
      • ‘We ducked out while they weren't looking and hot-footed it home.’
      • ‘He thought about ducking out when Barry went to get another round in.’
      • ‘I got the potato salad all right, and then ducked out the back door and into the dirt parking lot.’
      • ‘She looks like she ducked out for a quick hit during the performance.’
      • ‘The bell rang and I quickly ducked out of the classroom before Miss Hoover could stop me.’
      • ‘He smiled at me quickly before he ducked out of the classroom.’
      • ‘He sat up, examined my face, winked, and dressed quickly to duck out of the room for a wash, down the hall.’
      • ‘I ducked out to see if Clooney had signed the autograph or if the guy had disappeared.’
      • ‘Maeve seemingly needed to use the bathroom, because she ducked out rather quickly.’
    2. 1.2with object Avoid (a blow) by moving down quickly.
      ‘he ducked a punch from an angry first baseman’
      • ‘He ducked the blow and countered it, his own fist connecting with my jaw and his knee finding its way to my stomach.’
      • ‘He ducked one, two blows, before Yenny caught him on the shoulder.’
      • ‘Cyrus ducked the blow and landed another punch to James' stomach, knocking the wind from him and sending him to the ground again.’
      • ‘Nick, in a fit of rage and pain took another swing at Will, who merely ducked the blow.’
      • ‘She ducked the wild blow easily, and Jon stepped in, snatching the boy's stick from him and tossing it into the woods.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She swung at him two more times and he ducked both of those blows as well.’
      • ‘I ducked a blow, then kicked someone else away, looking desperately around for the door again.’
      • ‘Their jobs can be so tough that at times they even have to duck punches from troublesome beachgoers.’
      • ‘They will have expected you to duck this punch and instead you let the blow bounce of your granite chin like an errant moth.’
      • ‘My whimpers became wails and I tried to duck his blows.’
      • ‘Then he had to duck a punch that would have detached his jaw.’
      • ‘But he ducked the blow and darted his head back up colliding with Kung's chin.’
      • ‘He ducked a blow from a horseman riding up close to him and then grabbed onto the man's leg.’
      • ‘He barely ducks the bullets as his eyes widen when they fly towards him.’
      • ‘I ducked his punch and pulled his feet from underneath him with my feet.’
      • ‘He ducks a few blows and hits the other person a few times before the fight is called.’
      • ‘Kino smiled, laughed, and ducked the blow like he could read the chief's mind.’
      • ‘The leader ducked the blow and brought the axe around in a sweeping arc straight for Drew's knees.’
      • ‘He ducked a decapitating blow and crossed his swords above his head, just in time to block a downward slash.’
    3. 1.3informal with object Evade or avoid (an unwelcome duty or undertaking)
      ‘a responsibility that a less courageous man might well have ducked’
      no object ‘I was engaged twice and ducked out both 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.’
      • ‘Those who duck this obligation ill-serve the country.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Is the closure of Internet chat rooms more about ducking responsibility than child safety?’
      • ‘Whatever else that is, it's hardly ducking responsibility.’
      • ‘Sometimes referred to as the ‘master magician’, he was criticised for ducking out of a previous hearing of the committee.’
      • ‘In fact I hope I don't end up ducking out of saying a name on the phone, too.’
      • ‘But the principle is the same: we cannot duck our responsibilities by saying that the other party took part freely.’
      • ‘During the treatment there were times when I wanted to duck out.’
      • ‘Thank goodness we've ducked out of the dinner party thing.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘For the last few years of school life I ducked out of sports altogether by pretending I had singing lessons.’
      • ‘Only the bravery of Sinitsin saw him through an ordeal which many another boxer would have ducked out of long before the end.’
      • ‘At 18, she ducked out of the limelight, but after several years in retirement, she picked up her skills again.’
      shirk, dodge, evade, avoid, steer clear of, run away from, elude, escape, find a way out of, back out of, pull out of, shun, eschew, miss
      View synonyms
  • 2with object Plunge one's head or body underwater briefly.

    ‘I had to keep ducking down to get my head cool’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Offenders could be ducked in water.’
    dip, dunk, plunge, immerse, submerge, lower, sink
    View synonyms
  • 3Bridge
    Refrain from playing a winning card on a particular trick for tactical reasons.

nounPlural ducks

  • A quick lowering of the head.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

duck

/dək//dək/

Main definitions of duck in US English:

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck3

(also ducks)

nounPlural ducks

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

Origin

Late 16th century: from duck.

Pronunciation

duck

/dək//dək/

Main definitions of duck in US English:

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck4

nounPlural ducks

  • 1A strong linen or cotton fabric, used chiefly for casual or work clothes and sails.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

duck

/dək//dək/

Main definitions of duck in US English:

: duck1duck2duck3duck4duck5

duck5

nounPlural ducks

Cricket
  • A batsman's score of zero.

    ‘out for a duck’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Their last five wickets tumbled for 22 in just under eight overs, with the final four batsmen all making ducks.’
    • ‘Stillington made major inroads into Harrogate's batting as they dismissed three home batsmen for ducks.’
    • ‘This soon became 32 for 4 as both Rahul and Jadeja got ducks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Brendan Martin, on debut, was snapped up at first slip off Greg Dowell for nine, and Shaun Lynch was bowled by Dowell for a duck.’
    • ‘As it happened, on the third day no such resurrection occurred and worse, he scored yet another duck.’
    • ‘Ponting, so impressive in the first innings, went for a five-ball duck.’
    • ‘I remember that Gundappa Viswanath scored a duck and a century on his Test debut - has anyone else done this?’
    • ‘They never talk about when I got Len Hutton out for a duck, at Lord's in 1954!’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

duck

/dək//dək/