a lame duck
1. Someone or something that needs help. The company started as a lame duck that was saved by an innovative entrepreneur who decided to take some risks and go in a new direction.
2. An elected official serving their last term in office, usually so-called after a successor has been elected. The opposing party was angry at the president's intention to name a Supreme Court replacement while he was a lame duck.
a lame duck
1. If a politician or a government is a lame duck, they have little real power, for example because their period of office is coming to an end. The government is headed by a president who looks like a lame duck. The last thing people needed was to feel that the government was a lame duck. Note: You can also use lame-duck before a noun. He's already seen widely as a lame-duck Prime Minister. He would have found himself leading a lame-duck administration to near-certain defeat.
2. If someone or something is a lame duck, they are in a very weak position and in need of support. The company has completed its transformation from the lame duck of the motor industry into a quality car maker. Moira considers all single people lame ducks. Note: You can also use lame-duck before a noun. It is not right to use taxpayers' money to support lame-duck industries. Note: This expression is usually used to criticize someone or something. Note: The image here is of a duck that has been shot and wounded, and so cannot move properly and is likely to die.