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
References in periodicals archive ?
DANCE DELIGHT: Isabella Gasparini as the Ugly Duckling with Giuliano Contadini and Benjamin Mitchell''s Frogs in Northern Ballet''s production of this much-loved story.
Widespread adoption of the ugly duckling sign could prove to be a further step forward in early diagnosis of melanoma.
Through its fully integrated used car sales and finance company, Ugly Duckling operates the largest publicly held chain of "buy here-pay here" used car dealerships in the U.
Ugly Duckling will be choreographed by Northern Ballet dancers Dreda Blow and Sebastian Loe.
New Delhi, Nov 16 (ANI): American singer Nicole Scherzinger has revealed that she grew up thinking she was an ugly duckling.
In January, 4,100 students saw Ballet Nouveau Colorado's ballet The Ugly Duckling as part of BNC's "Ugly Duckling Anti-Bullying Program.
When the Ugly Duckling hatches he's rejected by the other birds around him.
Viewers unfamiliar with telenovelas will find similarities to the hit summer movie ``The Devil Wears Prada,'' though it was difficult, by any measure, to buy Anne Hathaway as an ugly duckling.
Mary's RC Primary, Blackhill, Consett, to tell the story of The Ugly Duckling to older primary pupils and Goldilocks and the Three Bears to younger children.
Even though I would class Jim as the ugly duckling of the Corr family, he was still surrounded by a gang of star-struck women.
Students from St Illtyd's Catholic High School in Cardiff will take to the stage this week with their production of Honk - the musical version of the Ugly Duckling.
FIAT'S new-look Multipla has won its first award since shedding its ugly duckling image.
30pm, Tall Stories Co presents Mum and the Monster, and the following day at 11am - and 3pm at the Chelmsley Wood Library - the Jacinto Puppet Theatre presents A Very Ugly Duckling.
THE swan of the skies looks more like an ugly duckling as it sits broken on the runway.
Just as most of the country was enamored with Seabiscuit, an ugly duckling grandson of the great race horse Man O' War, during the Depression, the author and the reader will feel great affection for the horse, his owners, trainers and jockeys by the end of this book.