1. any of numerous wild or domesticated web-footed swimming birds of the family Anatidae, esp. of the genus Anas and allied genera, characterized by abroad, flat bill, short legs, and depressed body.2. the female of this bird, as distinguished from the male. Cf. drake1.3. the flesh of this bird, eaten as food.4. Informal. person; individual: He's the queer old duck with the knee-length gaiters and walrus mustache.5. a playing marble, esp. one that is not used as a shooter.6. ducks, (used with a sing. v.) Brit. Slang. ducky2.7. Cricket Slang.a. failure of a batsman to score: to be out for a duck.b. a player's score of zero: to be bowled for a duck. Cf. goose egg.8. 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.[bef. 1000; ME duk, doke, OE duce diver, duck; akin to DUCK2]duck2/duk/, v.i.1. to stoop or bend suddenly; bob.2. to avoid or evade a blow, unpleasant task, etc.; dodge.3. to plunge the whole body or the head momentarily under water.4. Cards Informal. to play a card lower than the card led.v.t.5. to lower suddenly: Duck your head going through that low doorway.6. to avoid or evade (a blow, unpleasant task, etc.); dodge: to duck a hard right; to duck an embarrassing question.7. to plunge or dip in water momentarily.8. Cards Informal. to play a card lower than (the card led).n.9. an act or instance of ducking.[1250-1300; ME duken, douken; c. G tauchen to dive, ducken to duck]Syn. 1. bow, dodge. 3. dive, dip, souse.duck3/duk/, n.1. a heavy, plain-weave cotton fabric for tents, clothing, bags, etc., in any of various weights and widths.2. ducks, (used with a pl. v.) slacks or trousers made of this material.[1630-40; < D doek cloth; c. G Tuch]duck4/duk/, n.an amphibious military truck.
* * *IAny of various relatively small, short-necked, large-billed waterfowl (several genera in subfamily Anatinae, family Anatidae).The legs of true ducks (Anatinae) are placed rearward (as are those of swans), resulting in a waddling gait. Most true ducks differ from swans and true geese (see goose) in that male ducks molt twice annually, females lay large clutches of smooth-shelled eggs, and both sexes have overlapping scales on the skin of the leg and exhibit some differences between sexes in plumage and in call. All true ducks except shelducks and sea ducks (see diving duck) mature in the first year and pair only for the season. They are generally divided into three groups: perching ducks, dabbling ducks, and diving ducks. The whistling duck species, also called tree ducks, are not true ducks but are more closely related to geese and swans.II(as used in expressions)
* * *▪ birdany of various species of relatively small, short-necked, large-billed waterfowl. In true ducks—i.e., those classified in the subfamily Anatinae—the legs are placed rearward, as in swans (swan), rather than forward, as in geese (goose). The result is a distinctive waddling gait. Most true ducks, including a few inaccurately called geese (e.g., sheldgeese (sheldgoose)) by reason of size and build, also differ from swans and true geese in the following characteristics: males (drakes) and females (hens) exhibit some degree of differentiation in plumage and in call, males molt twice annually, females lay large clutches of smooth-shelled rather than rough-shelled eggs, and both sexes have overlapping scales on the skin of the leg.All true ducks, except those in the shelduck group and sea ducks, mature in the first year and pair only for the season—unlike the late-maturing, life-mating true geese and swans. Ducks are generally divided into three major groups, dabbling (dabbling duck) (shallow-water), diving, and perching ducks, based on their characteristic behaviours. The mallard, a typical dabbling duck, is one of the most popular game birds and is the ancestor of most domestic ducks (see poultry). pintails, teals, shovelers, and wigeons are also dabbling ducks, in addition to the gadwall and black duck. Perching ducks (perching duck) such as the muscovy, wood duck, and mandarin duck have long claws and are the most arboreal of ducks, often roosting in trees. The diving ducks (diving duck) include the greatest number of marine species, such as eiders and scoters, but they also include primarily freshwater species such as mergansers, ring-necked ducks, and pochards, including scaups and the canvasback. The redhead, goldeneye, and bufflehead are diving ducks that live in fresh and saltwater, depending on the season. Members of the stifftail group, typified by the blue-billed ruddy duck (Oxyura jamaicensis), are highly aquatic diving ducks characterized by legs set far toward the rear of the body. The whistling ducks (genus Dendrocygna), also called tree ducks, are not true ducks but are more closely related to the geese and swans. The freckled duck and torrent duck, as well as the shelduck and steamer duck, are other anomalous species. All ducks, geese, and swans belong to the family Anatidae. For a more detailed classification, see anseriform.▪ cloth(from Dutch doek, “cloth”), any of a broad range of strong, durable, plainwoven fabrics made originally from tow yarns and subsequently from either flax or cotton. Duck is lighter than canvas or sailcloth and differs from these in that it is almost invariably single in both warp and weft, or filling.The fabric, in its various qualities and colours, is used for an enormous variety of goods, including tents, wagon and motor hoods, light sails, belting, mailbags and other bags and pocketings, and clothing; the plural form is used colloquially for trousers made of the material. Russian duck is a fine white linen canvas.
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