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  1. any plant of the family Lemnaceae, especially of the genus Lemna, comprising small aquatic plants that float free on still water.

Origin of duckweed

1400–50; late Middle English dockewede; so called because eaten by ducks
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for duckweed

Historical Examples

  • As soon as we had plenty of duckweed and plenty of snails, we went on over the fields to the beck.

    Pond and Stream

    Arthur Ransome

  • He wants a pond or a muddy brook, and plenty of duckweed to hide under.

    Pond and Stream

    Arthur Ransome

  • Duckweed, the popular name of several species of Lemna, nat.

  • Behind them was a broad ring of stagnant water covered with duckweed.

    Combed Out

    Fritz August Voigt

  • Many of the craters half-filled with water already had duckweed growing.

    Fanny Goes to War

    Pat Beauchamp

British Dictionary definitions for duckweed


  1. any of various small stemless aquatic plants of the family Lemnaceae, esp any of the genus Lemna, that have rounded leaves and occur floating on still water in temperate regions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012