from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of various wild or domesticated swimming birds of the family Anatidae, characteristically having a broad, flat bill, short legs, and webbed feet.
  • n. A female duck.
  • n. The flesh of a duck used as food.
  • n. Slang A person, especially one thought of as peculiar.
  • n. Chiefly British A dear. Often used in the plural with a singular verb.
  • transitive v. To lower quickly, especially so as to avoid something: ducked his head as the ball came toward him.
  • transitive v. To evade; dodge: duck responsibility; ducked the reporter's question.
  • transitive v. To push suddenly under water. See Synonyms at dip.
  • transitive v. Games To deliberately play a card that is lower than (an opponent's card).
  • intransitive v. To lower the head or body.
  • intransitive v. To move swiftly, especially so as to escape being seen: ducked behind a bush.
  • intransitive v. To submerge the head or body briefly in water.
  • intransitive v. To evade a responsibility or obligation. Often used with out: duck out on one's family.
  • intransitive v. Games To lose a trick by deliberately playing lower than one's opponent.
  • n. A quick lowering of the head or body.
  • n. A plunge into water.
  • n. A durable, closely woven heavy cotton or linen fabric.
  • n. Clothing made of duck, especially white trousers.
  • n. An amphibious military truck used during World War II.
  • n. An amphibious truck used in emergencies, as to evacuate flood victims.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An aquatic bird of the family Anatidae, having a flat bill and webbed feet.
  • n. Specifically, an adult female duck; contrasted with drake and with duckling.
  • n. The flesh of a duck used as food.
  • n. A batsman's score of zero after getting out. (short for duck's egg, since the digit "0" is round like an egg.)
  • n. A term of endearment
  • n. Dear, Mate (informal way of addressing a friend or stranger).
  • n. A playing card with the rank of two.
  • n. A partly-flooded cave passage with limited air space.
  • n. A building intentionally constructed in the shape of an everyday object to which it is related.
  • n. A marble to be shot at with another marble (the shooter) in children's games.
  • n. A tightly-woven cotton fabric used as sailcloth.
  • v. To lower the head or body in order to prevent it from being struck by something.
  • v. To lower (something) into water.
  • v. To lower (the head) in order to prevent it from being struck by something.
  • v. To try to evade doing something.
  • v. To lower the volume of (a sound) so that other sounds in the mix can be heard more clearly.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A pet; a darling.
  • n. A linen (or sometimes cotton) fabric, finer and lighter than canvas, -- used for the lighter sails of vessels, the sacking of beds, and sometimes for men's clothing.
  • n. The light clothes worn by sailors in hot climates.
  • n. Any bird of the subfamily Anatinæ, family Anatidæ.
  • n. A sudden inclination of the bead or dropping of the person, resembling the motion of a duck in water.
  • intransitive v. To go under the surface of water and immediately reappear; to dive; to plunge the head in water or other liquid; to dip.
  • intransitive v. To drop the head or person suddenly; to bow.
  • transitive v. To thrust or plunge under water or other liquid and suddenly withdraw.
  • transitive v. To plunge the head of under water, immediately withdrawing it.
  • transitive v. To bow; to bob down; to move quickly with a downward motion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To plunge the head or the whole body into water and immediately withdraw; make a dip.
  • To nod or bob the head suddenly; bow.
  • Hence To give way; yield; cringe.
  • To dip or plunge in water and immediately withdraw: as, to duck a witch or a scold.
  • To lower or bend down suddenly, as in dodging a missile or an obstacle, or in saluting awkwardly: as, to duck the head.
  • In bridge, to lead a suit from the dealer or the dummy hand, and make no attempt to win the trick third hand, even when able to do so. See underplay.
  • n. A diving inclination of the head.
  • n. A lamellirostral natatorial bird of the family Anatidœ and subfamily Anatinœ or Fuligulinœ (which see).
  • n. The female duck, as distinguished from the male, or drake (which see).
  • n. Some webfooted bird likened to or mistaken for a duck: as, the cobbler's-awl duck (that is, the avoset).
  • n. One of the stones used in playing the game of duck on drake.
  • n. The velvet scoter.
  • n. The surf-scoter.
  • n. The ruddy duck.
  • n. The female mallard.
  • n. The female pintail.
  • n. The harlequin.
  • n. The hooded merganser. Also called water-pheasant.
  • n. Specifically— The wood-duck (which see). See Aix.
  • n. The garganey or summer tcal, Querquedula circia.
  • n. Hence— To handle or use a thing recklessly; scatter; squander; throw into confusion: with with or of.
  • n. The wood-duck or summer duck, which breeds in trees.
  • n. The hooded merganser: so called from breeding in trees.
  • n. A sweetheart; a darling: a word of endearment, fondness, or admiration. It is sometimes also applied to things: as, a duck of a bonnet.
  • n. A strong linen fabric simply woven without twill, lighter than canvas, and used for small sails, sails for pleasure-boats, and for men's wear. Duck is usually white or unbleached, but is sometimes made in plain colors.
  • n. A cotton fabric sometimes considered the second grade, for strength and durability, after double-warp (which see, under warp).
  • n. In cricket, no score; zero: short for duck's-egg (which see).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. (cricket) a score of nothing by a batsman
  • v. submerge or plunge suddenly
  • v. avoid or try to avoid fulfilling, answering, or performing (duties, questions, or issues)
  • n. flesh of a duck (domestic or wild)
  • n. small wild or domesticated web-footed broad-billed swimming bird usually having a depressed body and short legs
  • v. to move (the head or body) quickly downwards or away
  • v. dip into a liquid
  • n. a heavy cotton fabric of plain weave; used for clothing and tents


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English doke, from Old English dūce, possibly from *dūcan, to dive; see duck2.
Middle English douken, to dive, possibly from Old English *dūcan; akin to Middle Low German and Middle Dutch dūken.
Dutch doek, cloth, from Middle Dutch doec.
Alteration (influenced by duck1) of DUKW.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English duce

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Dutch doek, doeck ("linen cloth")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English douken, from Old English *dūcan, from Proto-Germanic *dūkanan. Akin to German tauchen ("to dive"), Dutch duiken.



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  • North American trail marks are sometimes called "ducks" or "duckies", because they sometimes have a "beak" pointing in the direction of the route. The expression "two rocks do not make a duck" reminds hikers that just one rock resting upon another could be the result of accident or nature rather than intentional trail marking.

    (Wikipedia: Cairn)

    June 7, 2011

  • I have three ducks at my house

    March 5, 2011

  • I watched her for a minute or two; she was the old Miranda, owned by some of the Caplins, and I knew her by an odd shaped patch of newish duck that was set into the peak of her dingy mainsail.

    --Sarah Orne Jewett, 1896, The Country of the Pointed Firs

    January 28, 2010

  • 1. Originally the verb "dive, dip in water", a derivative of which gave the bird's name (in effect "diver, dipper"). An earlier English name for the bird, in various forms such as ænid, enid, enede, ende, extinct 1400s, was cognate with Latin anat-. The verbal sense "lower the head" is later: like dipping in water but without the water.

    2. The kind of cloth is unrelated. 'Duck tape' is attested considerably earlier than 'duct tape', but it's not obvious that the latter is derived by alteration of the former: it might well be an independent invention coincidentally similar.

    May 27, 2009

  • Noun. Term of endearment. Colloq. Northern England.

    December 22, 2008

  • All along the the backwater,

    Through the rushes tall,

    Ducks are a-dabbling,

    Up tails all!

    Ducks' tails, drakes' tails,

    Yellow feet a-quiver,

    Yellow bills all out of sight

    Busy in the river!

    - Kenneth Grahame, 'Duck's Ditty'.

    November 17, 2008

  • Or my favorite: A man, a lawyer, a redneck, a nun, a blonde, a dog, and a priest walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, "Is this some kind of joke?"

    November 2, 2008

  • Ah, my favorite variant of that is "A nun, a priest, and a Druid walk into a bar. You'd think one of them would've seen it."

    November 1, 2008

  • Three men walked into a bar, the fourth one ducked.

    November 1, 2008

  • Citation (fabric) on cleg.

    June 29, 2008

  • Cricket jargon - a score of 0 for an individual batsman. Originates from expression "to make a duck's egg". Embarrassing.

    November 30, 2007