“The Ugly Duckling”
A children's story, told by Hans Christian Andersen. One young bird in a family of ducks is constantly mocked by the other ducks for his ugliness. Eventually, though, he grows up to be a swan — the most beautiful of all birds.
An “ugly duckling” is someone who blossoms beautifully after an unpromising beginning.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.