1 [duhk]
noun, plural ducks, (especially collectively for 1, 2) duck.
any of numerous wild or domesticated web-footed swimming birds of the family Anatidae, especially of the genus Anas and allied genera, characterized by abroad, flat bill, short legs, and depressed body.
the female of this bird, as distinguished from the male. Compare drake1.
the flesh of this bird, eaten as food.
Informal. person; individual: He's the queer old duck with the knee-length gaiters and walrus mustache.
a playing marble, especially one that is not used as a shooter.
ducks, (used with a singular verb) British Slang. ducky2.
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. Compare goose egg.
water 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.

before 1000; Middle English duk, doke, Old English dūce diver, duck; akin to duck2 Unabridged


2 [duhk]
verb (used without object)
to stoop or bend suddenly; bob.
to avoid or evade a blow, unpleasant task, etc.; dodge.
to plunge the whole body or the head momentarily under water.
Cards Informal. to play a card lower than the card led.
verb (used with object)
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.
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. bow, dodge. 3. dive, dip, souse.


3 [duhk]
a heavy, plain-weave cotton fabric for tents, clothing, bags, etc., in any of various weights and widths.
ducks, (used with a plural verb) slacks or trousers made of this material.

1630–40; < Dutch doek cloth; cognate with German Tuch


4 [duhk]

1940–45, Americanism; by alteration Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
duck1 (dʌk)
n , pl ducks, duck
1.  any of various small aquatic birds of the family Anatidae, typically having short legs, webbed feet, and a broad blunt bill: order Anseriformes
2.  the flesh of this bird, used as food
3.  the female of such a bird, as opposed to the male (drake)
4.  any other bird of the family Anatidae, including geese, and swans
5.  informal (Brit) See also ducky Also: ducks dear or darling: used as a term of endearment or of general address
6.  informal a person, esp one regarded as odd or endearing
7.  cricket a score of nothing by a batsman
8.  informal like water off a duck's back without effect
9.  informal take to something like a duck to water to become adept at or attracted to something very quickly
[Old English dūce duck, diver; related to duck²]

duck2 (dʌk)
vb (when intr, often foll by out)
1.  to move (the head or body) quickly downwards or away, esp so as to escape observation or evade a blow
2.  to submerge or plunge suddenly and often briefly under water
3.  informal to dodge or escape (a person, duty, etc)
4.  (intr) bridge to play a low card when possessing a higher one rather than try to win a trick
5.  the act or an instance of ducking
[C14: related to Old High German tūhhan to dive, Middle Dutch dūken]

duck3 (dʌk)
See also ducks a heavy cotton fabric of plain weave, used for clothing, tents, etc
[C17: from Middle Dutch doek; related to Old High German tuoh cloth]

duck4 (dʌk)
an amphibious vehicle used in World War II
[C20: from code name DUKW]

ducks (dʌks)
pl n
clothing made of duck, esp white trousers for sports

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. duce (found only in gen. ducan) "a duck," lit. "a ducker," presumed to be from O.E. *ducan "to duck" (see duck (v.)), replaced O.E. ened as the name for the bird, this being from PIE *aneti-, the root of the "duck" noun in most I.E. languages. As a term of endearment,
attested from 1580s. duck-walk is 1930s; duck soup "anything easily done" is from 1908. Duck's ass haircut is from 1951. Ducks-and-drakes, skipping flat stones on water, is from 1580s; the figurative sense of "throwing something away recklessly" is c.1600.

"strong, untwilled linen (later cotton) fabric," used for sails and sailors' clothing, 1640, from Du. doeck "linen cloth," related to Ger. Tuch "piece of cloth."

"to plunge into" (trans.), c.1300; to suddenly go under water (intrans.), mid-14c., from presumed O.E. *ducan "to duck," found only in derivative duce (n.) "duck" (but there are cognate words in other Germanic languages, cf. Ger. tauchen "to dive"), from P.Gmc. *dukjan. Sense of "bend, stoop quickly"
is first recorded in English 1520s. Related: Ducked; ducking.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences for ducks
In their first cricket match, the brothers were both dismissed for ducks.
In captivity, domestic ducks come in wildtype plumages, white, and other
Some other species, such as ducks, move their chicks away from the nest at an
  early age.
Preferred avian prey includes grebes, alcids, ducks, gulls, coots, egrets and
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