dead duck

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dead duck

1. A person or thing that is useless or hopeless. That new budget bill was a dead duck before it hit the Senate. That mechanic turned out to be a dead duck. He didn't even know how to change my oil.
2. Someone who is about to be in a great deal of trouble for something they have done. When Mom finds out you snuck out of the house to meet your boyfriend, you're going to be a dead duck!
See also: dead, duck
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

dead duck

Fig. someone or something that is certain to die or fail. If I fail that test, I'm a dead duck. When the outlaw drew his pistol, the sheriff knew he was a dead duck.
See also: dead, duck
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

dead duck

1. A person doomed to failure or death; a hopeless case. For example, If they can't find a heart to transplant soon, he's a dead duck. [1940s]
2. A useless, worthless, or outmoded person or thing. For example, They didn't interview the outgoing senator; to the press he's a dead duck. Some speculate that this slangy term comes from an old saying, "Never waste powder on a dead duck," first recorded in 1829.
See also: dead, duck
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

a dead duck

1. If someone or something is a dead duck, they are a failure. The government is a dead duck; and the Supreme National Council does not have the means to govern. The movie's probably a dead duck.
2. Someone who is a dead duck is going to be punished severely. Hit me on the head again, and you're a dead duck.
See also: dead, duck
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a dead ˈduck

(informal) a plan, an idea, etc. that has failed or is certain to fail and that is therefore not worth discussing: The new supermarket is going to be a dead duck; there’s no demand for one in this area.
See also: dead, duck
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

dead duck

n. a person or thing doomed to failure or disaster. This whole plan was a dead duck from the beginning.
See also: dead, duck
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

dead duck, a

A has-been or a loser. The term dates from the second half of the nineteenth century and may have been derived from lame duck. At first it denoted a person whose political influence had declined. Later it simply came to mean someone who has no hope of winning, or who has already lost.
See also: dead
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
However, if he's asleep when somebody blows a duck call, he torpedoes out through the thatched marsh grasses of the front of the blind and enthusiastically retrieves a decoy or chain of decoys or anything else he encounters that is not a dead duck.
Residents found the dead ducks in Nanhe river in Pengshan county, Sichuan province, and alerted the environmental department, reports the BBC.
Dead ducks do not fly although their dissection may be of interest to biologists.
"We were horrified to see around 25 dead ducks piled in a heap.
A villager, who asked not to be named, said: "A lady I know came to my door, very upset, saying she'd found some dead ducks.
1, officials at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge had already scooped up 10,000 dead ducks and geese, all victims of avian botulism.
A thousand dead ducks were found floating in the Nanhe river, which runs through the southern Chinese province of Sichuan, on Tuesday.
Police at the time of the discovery described hundreds of animal carcasses on the property, and said there was a large pit where some of the dead ducks and chickens were thrown.
But we can forget them because they're dead ducks."
Meanwhile, bird flu hit a ninth European Union country yesterday, with the discovery of two dead ducks in Sweden.
Two dead ducks being tested in France were just 150 miles from England.
And how sometimes we hit the ducks, sometimes they hit us: An expired snow slammed into the blind and scared me witless, and I recalled a pal's story of dead ducks hitting two hunters in a single blind.
THE Queen has received some strange gifts in her time - so it should have come as no surprise when she was handed two dead ducks on a silver tray.
You need a freezer in which to keep your dead ducks between training sessions.