ugly 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

ugly duckling

An unattractive or unpromising child who turns into a beautiful or much admired adult. The term comes from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale in which a baby cygnet, hatched with a brood of ducklings, is despised by both mother and siblings for its clumsiness until it grows up and becomes a beautifully graceful swan.
See also: duckling, ugly
References in periodicals archive ?
After Mills choreographed The Ugly Duckling for Ballet Nouveau Colorado in 2005, the company worked with the anti-bullying organization Creating Caring Communities to transform the ballet into an interactive performance to take into schools throughout the Denver area.
The familiar story of The Ugly Duckling is always welcomed by children, a beautifully illustrated version particularly so.
The ugly duckling sign was first described in 1998 by Dr.
Widespread adoption of the ugly duckling sign could help improve early diagnosis of melanoma.
Yet, more often than not, the parish hall is the ugly duckling of church property.
White's version of the ugly duckling story involves a mute swan named Louis who becomes a famous jazz trumpet player to compensate for his lack of a natural voice.
According to Harris, The Bluest Eye inverts "The Ugly Duckling"; Sula subverts traditional fairy tale structure; Song of Solomon reverses the Odyssean journey; Tar Baby subverts "Snow White" and "Sleeping Beauty"; and Beloved" reverses/undermines" the traditional ghost story.
Among his best - known stories are "The Red Shoes, " " The Ugly Duckling, " " The Emperor's Clothes, " " The Tinder Box, " and " The Fir Tree.
DAME ALLAN'S SCHOOL children in Years 1 and 2 recently performed a musical version of Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairy-tale 'The Ugly Duckling,' inspired by the Northern Ballet's adaptation.
TONIGHT and tomorrow, come and see youngsters from Llangollen and surrounding areas showing off their theatrical talents in a modern re-working of the story of the Ugly Duckling.
WHO could forget the story of the Ugly Duckling? Hans Christian Andersen's tale has introduced generations of children to the idea that one of the best things in life is to be themselves.
Who wrote the story of The Ugly Duckling? future of Britain's high streets; 10 Hans Christian Andersen.
The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale receives Doug Kennedy's engaging drawings as it tells of the ancestor of the modern day duck who awaits the hatching of her eggs.
Again written by Elizabeth Chandler for new director Sanaa Hamri, the sequel is less impressive with Ugly Betty star America Ferrara nowbeing givenmore screen time as the ugly duckling.
THE Ugly Duckling and Me DVD tells the story of Ratso, a wheeler dealer city rat, and Ugly, a baby duckling with a most striking appearance, and is based on the much-loved Hans Christian Andersen fairytale The Ugly Duckling.
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