sitting duck

noun
a helpless or easy target or victim: a sitting duck for shady financial schemes.

Origin:
1940–45

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

sitting duck definition


A very easy target: “His arguments were so simple, she was able to knock them down like sitting ducks.” The term comes from hunting, where it is much easier to hit ducks when they are sitting on the water than when they are in flight.

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

sitting duck definition


  1. n.
    someone who waits unsuspectingly for doom or destiny; an easy target for something bad. : Get out of the way! You're a sitting duck.
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

sitting duck

An easy target, as in If you park in front of a fire hydrant, you're a sitting duck for a ticket. This term alludes to the ease with which a hunter can shoot a duck that remains in one spot, in contrast to one in flight. [First half of 1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
He heard them shouting as he stood in the backfield last year, a sitting duck in shoulder pads.
Without that gun, he could have been yet another sitting duck.
We can't be a sitting duck at the checkpoint with the same processes.
However, there is nothing lucky about becoming a sitting duck while stopped behind traffic at a light.
Synonyms
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