duckling

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ugly duckling

A person or thing once considered unattractive or unlikely to succeed that becomes beautiful or successful in time. The phrase refers to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of an ugly duckling that grows up to be a beautiful swan. The phrase can apply to physical appearance or to the level of success of something. I thought that fledgling company would dissolve in months. No one foresaw that it was just an ugly duckling and would have great success. Mary went unnoticed in high school but she's gorgeous now—a real ugly duckling!
See also: duckling, ugly

ugly duckling

A homely or unpromising individual who grows into an attractive or talented person, as in She was the family ugly duckling but blossomed in her twenties. This term alludes to Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale about a cygnet hatched with ducklings that is despised for its clumsiness until it grows up into a beautiful swan. The tale was first translated into English in 1846, and the term was used figuratively by 1871.
See also: duckling, ugly

an ugly duckling

a young person who turns out to be beautiful or talented against all expectations.
The Ugly Duckling is a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen in which the ‘ugly duckling’, mocked and jeered at by his peers, eventually develops into a beautiful swan.
See also: duckling, ugly

an ˌugly ˈduckling

(informal) a person or thing that at first does not seem attractive or likely to succeed but that later becomes successful or much admired: He’s got the looks of a film star now, but he was a real ugly duckling as a child.This comes from a children’s story by Hans Christian Andersen, in which a young swan is raised with ducklings. They have to stop teasing him about his ugliness when he grows into a beautiful swan.
See also: duckling, ugly
References in periodicals archive ?
The message we want to put across in Ugly Duckling is that we should be confident in embracing who we are and ultimately we should not be afraid of being ourselves.
But then she came out of the bushes followed by one duckling, then another, and another, until ten of them waddled out," he said.
CARE Z Yvonne McCann with Drake HERO3 Bossou helped ducklings to safety
So I was dreading having to catch the ducklings, and I'm glad I wasn't awake to see them jump down.
Taken as a whole the data from the analysis of the ducklings showed that the Cherry Valley ducklings were higher in meat content than any of the other ducklings assessed and also had the lowest fat contents.
I went flying in my son's room, and thanked God they were all right,'' she said cradling one of the ducklings in her cupped hands.
The officer saved the lives of those using the motorway as well as the ducklings.
They were astonished to find a mother mallard duck together with 13 ducklings which had just hatched.
But we don't encourage the ducklings because they leave muck everywhere.
He spent two months in his room in a basic hotel in Madagascar tending first the eggs and then the 24 ducklings which hatched.
He said: "The heron was trying to scare the ducklings away from their parents so it could pick up the stragglers.
The centre also creates an egg to duckling experience workshop called 'candling' where visitors can light up an egg to see the development of the chick inside, as well as seeing the eggs hatch and new-born ducklings.
LIVING in the lap of luxury, these ducklings have fallen on their webbed feet.
SIX little ducklings have hatched in a school and there is not one ugly one among them.
The drama unfolded when a family of eight ducklings and their mother took a rush-hour stroll - across busy Borough Road in Middlesbrough.