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sitting duck

a helpless or easy target or victim:
a sitting duck for shady financial schemes.
Origin of sitting duck
First recorded in 1940-45 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for sitting duck
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If any of the Company ships sight us, we'll be a sitting duck.

    The Hell Ship Raymond Alfred Palmer
  • There is a very dangerous time when the driver is a sitting duck.

    The Fourth R George Oliver Smith
  • There were three eggs in the inaccessible cliff-nest, and he brought me one, which I tried in vain to hatch under a sitting duck.

    Station Amusements Lady Barker
  • Six great green eggs, stolen from a sitting duck which had belonged to the ill-fated Pierce, were the staple food.

    The Serf Guy Thorne
  • A weaving target has a chance, but a target standing motionless is a sitting duck and his life hangs by a hair.

    The Man the Martians Made Frank Belknap Long
sitting duck in Culture

sitting duck definition

A very easy target: “His arguments were so simple, she was able to knock them down like sitting ducks.” The term comes from hunting, where it is much easier to hit ducks when they are sitting on the water than when they are in flight.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for sitting duck

sitting duck

noun phrase

An easy target; a totally defenseless person (1944+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with sitting duck

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 ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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