In cricket, a duck occurs on the dismissal of a batsman who has scored no runs. The only thing worse for a batsman is a golden duck.

The colloquial name for web-footed fowl that live on or near water. They are members of the family Anatidae, which also contains geese and swans. Strictly speaking, ducks are female; the males are drakes, and have the more elaborate plumage. Wild and domestic ducks are prized for their meat, eggs, and feathers. All domestic ducks are descended from two breeds, the mallard and the muscovy. The muscovy is of South American origin and thus relatively new to European and North Americans; mallards however have known in Asia and Europe since ancient times. The popular domesticated white, full-breasted Long Island ducks, consumed across North America, are all descendants of three ducks and a drake brought from Beijing to New York on a clipper ship in 1873.

Ducks can be divided into three groups: surface-feeding or puddle ducks, diving ducks, and fish-eating ducks. Surface feeding ducks include mallards, wood ducks, black ducks and teal; they live in quiet waters such as ponds and marshes and take wing straight up. Diving ducks like canvasbacks, scaup, scoter, eider, and redhead live in bays, rivers, and lakes; they "walk" for a distance across the surface of the water before taking off. The fish-eaters are mergansers; they have slender serrated bills and live on open water such as oceans and large lakes.

Most common in parks in my city are mallards; the drakes have a green head and neck with a white ring around it, white tails, and blue patches on their wings; the females are more drab. Wood ducks nest in hollow trees. The various types of teal are small and fly very quickly. Canvasbacks have a chestnut-coloured head and neck, black bill and chest, and whitish back; they're fast fliers and good divers, and also favourite of hunters because they're very tasty. The eiders live in northern countries and line their nests with soft down that is collected to make quilts and pillows. The mergansers (sheldrakes or sawbills) are usually crested; their diet of fish gives their flesh an unpleasant taste, so hunters call them "trash ducks".

An internet search on ducks turns up a plethora of sites on duck hunting, a popular "sport" in North America and Europe. Generally this involves a man with a gun, duck decoys, and a device (a duck call) which simulates the voice of the duck being hunted. Often dogs - retrievers - are used to fetch the (hopefully) dead duck from where it fell and bring it back to the hunter. In North America duck-hunting season is in the fall; most ducks are taking off on their long migratory flights at this time, and the skies are filled with flying targets for those who find picking live animals out of the sky a worthy pastime. Hunters of duck and other waterfowl are a powerful lobby group for the preservation of wetlands, a prime duck habitat.

Ducks bought in the supermarket have been raised and slaughtered for food, not hunted; such birds do not enjoy a long life, being killed between 8 and 16 weeks of age, so they can also be called ducklings. Unlike chickens, all duck flesh is dark; the breast is dark, tender, and lean, while the leg is firm and tough. Ducks are generally covered with a generous layer of fat, which makes them very tasty but also very fatty. Whole duck can be slow-roasted at a low temperature, which will render off some of the copious fat and yield tender meat and crispy skin; Chinese barbecued duck is prepared in this way, and it is delicious. Duck confit is cooked slowly in its own fat and then stored completely covered with that fat; prepared in this way, duck will keep for months. (Don't worry, the fat is scraped off before serving.) Boneless duck breasts can be seared and finished off in a hot oven for 10 minutes or so, till the flesh is just pink.
Joy of Cooking
Ducks Unlimited

Tuesday did not begin like most spring days at 225 Meadow Lane. Instead of hearing the songs of the usual chirping birds as Greg awoke, he was treated to the rather loud and rude quacks of a duck. It was so odd he almost laughed. Why was a duck near his house (there were no bodies of water nearby) and why was it so damned loud?

The duck would not shut up and it began to annoy Greg immensely about halfway through his bowl of Cocoa Puffs. In fact, the more annoyed he became, as if the duck could detect it, the louder it quacked. He swore at first it sounded like a dainty little girl blowing her nose but by the time Greg was slurping leftover milk it resembled a huge fat truck driver in a powerblow. He was glad to be rid of it once he got into his car and headed for work.

Almost to the interstate, once again Greg faced annoyance at the hands (or, wings, rather) of a duck. Actually several. While trying to travel down Lee Street he had to stop for a long line of the green and white colored fowl crossing the street. They took extra time to playfully splash in a few small puddles on the way. When the final duck was across, Greg slammed the gas pedal, spinning a little on the mist-covered pavement.

Once he arrived at work, Greg noticed a billboard across the street that he had never remembered seeing before. It was a gigantic mallard staring down at him with the slogan "You'll Go Quackers Over It!" He was so distraught by the large, fowl/foul image that he didn't even notice what product the advertisement was plugging. Before Greg was finished being mesmerized by it a hole tore in the grey, cloud-covered morning sky and a beam of sunlight hit the billboard -- right on the duck.

"What is it with ducks today?!" Greg said, squinting his eyes.

There were no more ducks incidents until that afternoon. Greg was handed a CD by his boss of images to put on the website of one of his company's clients, a local veterinarian. When Greg popped the CD in and began to explore it he found it to be nothing but hundreds of photos of ducks!

"Ducks!" Greg exclaimed. He drew a few odd stares from his coworkers. He just shrugged innocently.

On the way to his car after work he almost tripped over a duck scuttling across the parking lot. He yelled at it as it disappeared into the bushes. When he was almost home it seemed that the same group of ducks he'd encountered in the morning on Lee Street were back, only this time returning to the other side of the street.

"What is it with ducks today?!" he gasped to himself. He wanted to honk the horn, but didn't, for fear it'd sound too much like the damned ducks.

After he arrived in his driveway, he got an idea. The Shrewsbury sisters down the street, a couple of old women who liked to sit out on their porch drinking tea and talking to passers-by, were very wise and often had good advice for people in the neighborhood who'd experienced odd things. They once accurately diagnosed the cause of a very strange pinging noise that had been coming from his car. They once informed Sally Rutherford that she was pregnant after she'd come to them complaining about strange dreams involving fish and bunnies. (Greg never quite figured out what the connection was.)

"Maybe they'll know something," he mumbled to himself as he strolled down the street.

"Excuse me, Betty, Gertrude?" Greg called to them from the sidewalk. Betty, the short and stout one, turned and smiled. Gertrude, the lanky one, turned to him as well and looked thoughtful. "Yes?" they said together.

Greg told them of his odd, duck-filled day.

"Perhaps the universe is trying to tell you something," Betty confidently suggested. Gertrude nodded in agreement enthusiastically.

"What?!" yelled Greg.

"To duck?!" Gertrude replied.

"Duck?" Greg said, scratching his head.

"Yes, duck!" Betty exclaimed.

Greg frowned in thought. CLANG! A sizable rock flew out from beneath Jenkins' mower and slammed off of Greg's head. His eyes crossed, crimson spewed from his left temple, and he collapsed into Betty and Gertrude's front yard.

"Humans," Betty said in her native language, slowly shaking her head, "they so rarely listen."

"Indeed," Gertrude replied, sipping her tea thoughtfully.

Duck (?), n. [Cf. Dan. dukke, Sw. docka, OHG. doccha, G. docke. Cf. Doxy.]

A pet; a darling.



© Webster 1913.

Duck, n. [D. doek cloth, canvas, or Icel. dkr cloth; akin to OHG. tuoh, G. tuch, Sw. duk, Dan. dug.]


A linen (or sometimes cotton) fabric, finer and lighter than canvas, -- used for the lighter sails of vessels, the sacking of beds, and sometimes for men's clothing.

2. Naut. pl.

The light clothes worn by sailors in hot climates.



© Webster 1913.

Duck, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ducked (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Ducking.] [OE. duken, douken, to dive; akin to D. duiken, OHG. thhan, MHG. tucken, tucken, tchen, G. tuchen. Cf. 5th Duck.]


To thrust or plunge under water or other liquid and suddenly withdraw.

Adams, after ducking the squire twice or thrice, leaped out of the tub. Fielding.


To plunge the head of under water, immediately withdrawing it; as, duck the boy.


To bow; to bob down; to move quickly with a downward motion. " Will duck his head aside.



© Webster 1913.

Duck (?), v. i.


To go under the surface of water and immediately reappear; to dive; to plunge the head in water or other liquid; to dip.

In Tiber ducking thrice by break of day. Dryden.


To drop the head or person suddenly; to bow.

The learned pate Ducks to the golden fool. Shak.


© Webster 1913.

Duck, n. [OE. duke, doke. See Duck, v. t. ]

1. Zool.

Any bird of the subfamily Anatinae, family Anatidae.

The genera and species are numerous. They are divided into river ducks and sea ducks. Among the former are the common domestic duck (Anas boschas); the wood duck (Aix sponsa); the beautiful mandarin duck of China (Dendronessa galeriliculata); the Muscovy duck, originally of South America (Cairina moschata). Among the sea ducks are the eider, canvasback, scoter, etc.


A sudden inclination of the bead or dropping of the person, resembling the motion of a duck in water.

Here be, without duck or nod, Other trippings to be trod. Milton.

Bombay duck Zool., a fish. See Bummalo. -- Buffel duck, or Spirit duck. See Buffel duck. -- Duck ant Zool., a species of white ant in Jamaica which builds large nests in trees. -- Duck barnacle. Zool. See Goose barnacle. -- Duck hawk. Zool. (a) In the United States: The peregrine falcon. (b) In England: The marsh harrier or moor buzzard. -- Duck mole Zool., a small aquatic mammal of Australia, having webbed feet and a bill resembling that of a duck (Ornithorhynchus anatinus). It belongs the subclass Monotremata and is remarkable for laying eggs like a bird or reptile; -- called also duckbill, platypus, mallangong, mullingong, tambreet, and water mole. -- To make ducks and drakes, to throw a flat stone obliquely, so as to make it rebound repeatedly from the surface of the water, raising a succession of jets<-- = skipping stones -->; hence: To play at ducks and drakes, with property, to throw it away heedlessly or squander it foolishly and unprofitably. -- Lame duck. See under Lame.


© Webster 1913.

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