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the ugly duckling

the ugly duckling in Culture

“The Ugly Duckling” definition

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.

Note: An “ugly duckling” is someone who blossoms beautifully after an unpromising beginning.
The American Heritage® 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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