lame duck

noun
1.
an elected official or group of officials, as a legislator, continuing in office during the period between an election defeat and a successor's assumption of office.
2.
a president who is completing a term of office and chooses not to run or is ineligible to run for reelection.
3.
a person finishing a term of employment after a replacement has been chosen.
4.
anything soon to be supplanted by another that is more efficient, economical, etc.
5.
a person or thing that is disabled, helpless, ineffective, or inefficient.
6.
a person who has lost a great deal of money in speculations on the stock market.

Origin:
1755–65

lame-duck, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
lame duck
 
n
1.  a person or thing that is disabled or ineffectual
2.  stock exchange a speculator who cannot discharge his liabilities
3.  a company with a large workforce and high prestige that is unable to meet foreign competition without government support
4.  (US)
 a.  an elected official or body of officials remaining in office in the interval between the election and inauguration of a successor
 b.  (as modifier): a lame-duck president
5.  (US) (modifier) designating a term of office after which the officeholder will not run for re-election

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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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

lame duck
mid-18c., "any disabled person or thing;" especially Stock Exchange slang for "defaulter."
"A lame duck is a man who cannot pay his differences, and is said to waddle off." [Thomas Love Peacock, "Gryll Grange," 1861]
Sometimes also in naval use for "an old, slow ship." Modern sense of "public official serving out term after an election" is recorded by 1878 in Amer.Eng., from an anecdote published in that year of President Lincoln, who is alleged to have said, "[A] senator or representative out of business is a sort of lame duck. He has to be provided for."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

lame duck definition


A public official or administration serving out a term in office after having been defeated for reelection or when not seeking reelection.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang Dictionary

lame duck definition


  1. n.
    someone who is in the last period of a term in an elective office. : You can't expect much from a lame duck.
  2. mod.
    having to do with someone in the last period of a term in an elective office. : You don't expect much from a lame duck president.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

lame duck

An elected officeholder whose term of office has not yet expired but who has failed to be re-elected and therefore cannot garner much political support for initiatives. For example, You can't expect a lame duck President to get much accomplished; he's only got a month left in office. This expression originated in the 1700s and then meant a stockbroker who did not meet his debts. It was transferred to officeholders in the 1860s. The Lame Duck Amendment, 20th to the U.S. Constitution, calls for Congress and each new President to take office in January instead of March (as before), thereby eliminating the lame-duck session of Congress.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
But working as a lame duck among colleagues who have deemed you unworthy can't
  help but be excruciating.
Lame duck president, deeply riven board, ridiculous faculty senate.
Boring, lame duck, sleeping giant-he has heard them all.
This, combined with his slumping popularity, has led some to describe him as a
  lame duck.
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