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duck 1

1. Any of various wild or domesticated waterbirds of the family Anatidae, characteristically having a broad flat bill, short legs, and webbed feet.
2. A female duck.
3. The flesh of a duck used as food.
4. Slang A person, especially one thought of as peculiar.
5. often ducks(used with a sing. verb) Chiefly British A dear.

[Middle English doke, from Old English dūce, possibly from *dūcan, to dive; see duck2.]

duck 2

v. ducked, duck·ing, ducks
1. To lower quickly, especially so as to avoid something: ducked his head as the ball came toward him.
2. To evade; dodge: duck responsibility; ducked the reporter's question.
3. To push (a person, for example) suddenly under water.
4. In bridge, to deliberately play a card that is lower than (an opponent's card).
1. To lower the head or body.
2. To move swiftly, especially so as to escape being seen: ducked behind a bush.
3. To submerge the head or body briefly in water.
4. To evade a responsibility or obligation. Often used with out: duck out on one's family.
5. In bridge, to lose a trick by deliberately playing lower than one's opponent.
1. A quick lowering of the head or body.
2. A plunge under water.

[Middle English douken, to dive, possibly from Old English *dūcan; akin to Middle Low German and Middle Dutch dūken.]

duck′er n.

duck 3

1. A durable, closely woven heavy cotton or linen fabric.
2. ducks Clothing made of duck, especially white pants.

[Dutch doek, cloth, from Middle Dutch doec.]

duck 4

1. An amphibious military truck used during World War II.
2. A similar vehicle used for civilian purposes, as to evacuate flood victims or for sightseeing tours. In both senses also called DUKW.

[Alteration (influenced by duck) of DUKW.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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