a lame duck

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.
See also: duck, lame

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.
See also: duck, lame

a ˌlame ˈduck

(informal) a person or an organization that is not very successful and needs help: My uncle is a bit of a lame duck. The family has to help him all the time.The shipping industry had become a lame duck.
See also: duck, lame

lame duck, a

A person finishing a term of office, employment, or other engagement, and soon to be supplanted by another. This term had quite another meaning in eighteenth-century Britain. Then it denoted a stock-exchange jobber (broker) who could not pay his debts and therefore was struck from the members’ list, forced to “waddle away” from the Exchange. In the nineteenth century, however, the term began to be used for any ineffectual person, on both sides of the Atlantic. Some decades thereafter it began to be used in its present meaning in the United States, that is, for government officials who have failed to be reelected but must serve out their term of office, even though their endeavors are hampered because they are about to be replaced.
See also: lame
References in periodicals archive ?
He told MPs: "I'll tell you what is a lame duck and that is trying to get into Downing Street on the back of Alex Salmond's coat-tails.
A lame duck is an elected official whose power has waned after being defeated for re-election, deciding not to run again, or not running again because term limits won't allow it.
There is nothing special or different about a lame duck.
They have branded Mr Hunt a lame duck and Mr Cameron is widely expected to ditch his Culture Secretary in a reshuffle after Mr Hunt has overseen the Olympic Games.
Instead of being a lame duck, let it rise from the ashes and become a phoenix as St Peter's has.
According to William Safire's "Political Dictionary," a lame duck is a wounded creature, "An officeholder whose power is diminished because he is soon to leave office as a result of defeat or statutory limitation.
The spirit of the local community is discovered because of a lame duck, and the generous spirit of two young girls.
You might be a lame duck, but you still have the power to help lame turkeys," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a letter to Bush.
As you can probably guess, I'm not so much a lame duck now as a dead duck" - Robert Tuttle, US Ambassador to London.
It means two months of nongovernment, although many would argue that the Bush team is already a lame duck administration.
As Bush becomes a lame duck and the presidential race begins without a consensus nominee, a party that has papered over every choice about its direction will meet reality.
Before control of Congress passes to the Democrats in January, the 109th Congress will return to Washington this week for a lame duck session to complete work on unfinished business, including action on domestic spending.
He said he will not be a lame duck, but "will continue to give this my very best between now and the General Synod.
She wanted me to help her companion, a lame duck, get outside, as he had trouble getting over a step.