- any of various small aquatic birds of the family Anatidae, typically having short legs, webbed feet, and a broad blunt bill: order Anseriformes
- the flesh of this bird, used as food
- the female of such a bird, as opposed to the male (drake)
- any other bird of the family Anatidae, including geese, and swans
- Also: ducks Brit informal dear or darling: used as a term of endearment or of general address
See also ducky
- informal a person, esp one regarded as odd or endearing
- a score of nothing by a batsman
- like water off a duck's back ⇒ informal without effect
- take to something like a duck to water ⇒ informal to become adept at or attracted to something very quickly
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2019
- Birds[countable] a small, short-necked, web-footed swimming bird.
- Birds[countable] the female of this bird. Compare drake.
- the flesh of this bird, eaten as food:[uncountable]Peking duck in orange sauce.
duck2 /dʌk/USA pronunciation v.
- to (cause to) bend suddenly, esp. in order to avoid something: [no object]When the shooting started, we ducked behind a car.[~ + object]He ducked his head down as the shots rang out.
- to avoid, or try to escape from (an unpleasant task, etc.);
dodge: [~ + object]He's trying to duck responsibility for his actions.[~ + out (+ of) + object]She ducked out the back to avoid the reporters.
- to plunge (the whole body or the head) momentarily under water: [no object]I ducked under the hose and washed my face.[~ + object]She ducked her head under the hose and washed off.
- an act or instance of ducking:a quick duck to the left.
- Birdsany of numerous wild or domesticated web-footed swimming birds of the family Anatidae, esp. of the genus Anas and allied genera, characterized by abroad, flat bill, short legs, and depressed body.
- Birdsthe female of this bird, as distinguished from the male. Cf. drake1.
- the flesh of this bird, eaten as food.
- Informal Termsperson;
individual:He's the queer old duck with the knee-length gaiters and walrus mustache.
- Gamesa playing marble, esp. one that is not used as a shooter.
- British Termsducks, (used with a sing. v.)ducky2.
- British Terms, Sport[Cricket Slang.]
- failure of a batsman to score:to be out for a duck.
- a player's score of zero:to be bowled for a duck.Cf. goose egg.
- Idiomswater off a duck's back, something that has little or no effect:Our criticisms of his talk rolled off him like water off a duck's back.
- bef. 1000; Middle English duk, doke, Old English dūce diver, duck; akin to duck2
duck2 (duk),USA pronunciation v.i.
- to stoop or bend suddenly;
- to avoid or evade a blow, unpleasant task, etc.;
- to plunge the whole body or the head momentarily under water.
- Games[Cards Informal.]to play a card lower than the card led.
- to lower suddenly:Duck your head going through that low doorway.
- to avoid or evade (a blow, unpleasant task, etc.);
dodge:to duck a hard right; to duck an embarrassing question.
- to plunge or dip in water momentarily.
- Games[Cards Informal.]to play a card lower than (the card led).
- an act or instance of ducking.
- 1250–1300; Middle English duken, douken; cognate with German tauchen to dive, ducken to duck
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged bow, dodge.
- 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged dive, dip, souse.
duck3 (duk),USA pronunciation n.
- Textilesa heavy, plain-weave cotton fabric for tents, clothing, bags, etc., in any of various weights and widths.
- Clothingducks, (used with a pl. v.) slacks or trousers made of this material.
- Dutch doek cloth; cognate with German Tuch
duck4 (duk),USA pronunciation n.
- Militaryan amphibious military truck.
- alteration of DUKW, code name 1940–45, American.
- to move (the head or body) quickly downwards or away, esp so as to escape observation or evade a blow
- to submerge or plunge suddenly and often briefly under water
- when intr, often followed by out: informal to dodge or escape (a person, duty, etc)
- (intransitive) to play a low card when possessing a higher one rather than try to win a trick
- the act or an instance of ducking
- a heavy cotton fabric of plain weave, used for clothing, tents, etc
- an amphibious vehicle used in World War II