Word of the Day: duck

Word of the Day
July 28, 2016
duck (noun, verb)
/dʌk/   sound icon
A mother duck and her ducklings
A duck is most commonly a bird that swims, and it is also the meat of this bird served as food. However, duck is also a verb that means 'to bend suddenly to avoid something.' Figuratively, it means 'to avoid something you dislike.' Duck also means 'to briefly put something under water.' Duck is also the noun that describes the act of ducking to avoid something.


Example sentences
There were several ducks swimming in the pond.
At the restaurant, Bill ordered the duck.
Anna had to duck to avoid hitting her head on the low doorframe.
My boss is useless; he's always ducking his responsibilities.
Helen ducked her head below the surface of the water to see if she could spot any fish.
John's duck meant the ball went over his head instead of hitting him.


Words often used with duck
like water off a duck's back: used to describe something that has no effect. Example: "The press wrote all sorts of nasty stories about the politician, but it was like water off a duck's back; she didn't pay any attention to them at all."
get (or: have) all your ducks in a row: to get or be organized. Example: "It's always good to work with colleagues who have all their ducks in a row."
Multi-word forms
duck into somewhere (informal): go into somewhere quickly. Example: "I just need to duck into the office to pick up some paperwork. I'll only be a couple of minutes."
duck out: to go out briefly. Example: "I just need to duck out and get some bread. I won't be long."
Did you know?
Ducking, in the sense of plunging something into water, was also a method used in Medieval times to determine whether or not a woman was a witch. The woman suspected was tied to a ducking stool (a special seat that could be lowered into the water) and ducked into the local pond to see if she drowned. If she did, she was innocent, if not she was a witch (but would be executed anyway!). Ducking stools were also used more generally as a method of punishing women, and the length of time the woman was ducked for depended on the person operating the ducking stool and the crime she was supposed to have committed.
Other forms
duckling (noun)
The verb duck first appeared around the year 1300, in Old English, as ducan, meaning 'to plunge, or suddenly go under water.' The animal name came from the verb, and began to be used a few decades later (before then, a duck was called an ened in Old English, similar to the German name ente, still used today). Duck, meaning to 'quickly stoop or bend down to avoid something, was first used in the early 16th century.
Duck in other languages
Duck was suggested by Marco from Italy 
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