sitting duck

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sitting duck

Something that is unprotected and vulnerable to an easy attack. When my car broke down in a bad neighborhood, I felt like a sitting duck, just waiting to get robbed. We can't go into that area unarmed, we'd be sitting ducks!
See also: duck, sitting
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*sitting duck

Fig. someone or something vulnerable to attack, physical or verbal. (Alludes to a duck floating on the water, not suspecting that it is the object of a hunter or predator. *Typically: be ~; like ~; looking like~.) You look like a sitting duck out there. Get in here where the enemy cannot fire at you. The senator was a sitting duck because of his unpopular position on school reform.
See also: duck, sitting
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

sitting duck

An easy target, as in If you park in front of a fire hydrant, you're a sitting duck for a ticket. This term alludes to the ease with which a hunter can shoot a duck that remains in one spot, in contrast to one in flight. [First half of 1900s]
See also: duck, sitting
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 sitting duck

If someone is a sitting duck, they are in a situation where it is very easy to attack them or criticize them. A pilot performing this manoeuvre would be a sitting duck for a second enemy aircraft. Note: You can also use sitting-duck before a noun. When the planes reach the sitting-duck warships, the harbour is rocked by a series of huge explosions. Note: A duck is an easy target for hunters when it is sitting on the water or on the ground.
See also: duck, sitting
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

sitting duck

a person or thing with no protection against an attack or other source of danger.
See also: duck, sitting
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

a ˌsitting ˈduck/ˈtarget

a person or thing that is very easy to attack or criticize: It’s always easy to criticize teachers; they’re just sitting ducks.
See also: duck, sitting, target
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

sitting duck

n. someone who waits unsuspectingly for doom or destiny; an easy target for something bad. Get out of the way! You’re a sitting duck.
See also: duck, sitting
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

sitting duck, a

An easy target. This expression clearly alludes to the ease with which a hunter can shoot a duck that is sitting still, in contrast to one in flight. It was transferred to other enterprises in the first half of the twentieth century.
See also: sitting
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Sitting Duck Award is given annually to the person "to whom columnists have turned in the last 12 months, when he or she is desperate for a topic and has to meet a deadline." Impeached Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich finished as the runner-up in the voting.
SHOT PC David Rathband said he is suing his own force because he was left "a sitting duck" when gunman Raoul Moat declared war on police.
I PACKED in writing to Voice of the North for fear of becoming boring, despite the sitting duck subject matter in the form of the man who saved the world, Gordon Brown.
Former President Bill Clinton won the annual National Society of Newspaper Columnists' "Sitting Duck Award" Sunday for being an easy target for columnists.
The 11-2 winner looked a sitting duck when Belardo loomed up, but she kept on well to deny backers who had forced the 9-2 joint-favourite to 1.5.
On the reverse will be safety reminders for the driver with the message "don't be a sitting duck".
PC David Rathband said he was suing his own force because he was left "a sitting duck" when gunman Raoul Moat declared war on police.
Sent to the head of affairs, the Stravinsky gelding looked a sitting duck inside the final two furlongs, but both horse and rider were in no mood to be beaten and scored by half-a-length from Sunrise Safari..
The shaken 51-year-old said he was a "sitting duck" as bullets hit his vehicle.
attorney general, who conveniently "forgets" things when testifying in front of Congress, won the "Sitting Duck Award" at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) conference Sunday.
The judges said of the born-again British car firm: "MG Rover's turnaround from financial sitting duck to key player has been little short of remarkable."
The winner had appeared a sitting duck for the strong-finishing Benidiction inside the final furlong and looked to have come off second best as they flashed past the line.
With Darren Purse playing for Cardiff, the airship will become a sitting duck every time the ex-Blues and Albion defender launches one of his legendary clearances.
A sex charge teacher told a jury an affair with a former pupil had left him a "sitting duck" for unfounded abuse allegations.
The Hammers fans already want him out despite having gained promotion, and a bad start - which is very likely - make him a sitting duck