Dictionary.com

lame duck

[ leym-duhk ]
/ ˈleɪm ˈdʌk /
Save This Word!

noun
an elected official or group of officials, as a legislator, continuing in office during the period between an election defeat and a successor's assumption of office.
a president who is completing a term of office and chooses not to run or is ineligible to run for reelection.
a person finishing a term of employment after a replacement has been chosen.
anything soon to be supplanted by another that is more efficient, economical, etc.
a person or thing that is helpless, ineffective, or inefficient.
a person who has lost a great deal of money in speculations on the stock market.
QUIZ
ARE YOU A TRUE BLUE CHAMPION OF THESE "BLUE" SYNONYMS?
We could talk until we're blue in the face about this quiz on words for the color "blue," but we think you should take the quiz and find out if you're a whiz at these colorful terms.
Question 1 of 8
Which of the following words describes “sky blue”?
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help

Origin of lame duck

First recorded in 1755–65

OTHER WORDS FROM lame duck

lame-duck, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use lame duck in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for lame duck

lame duck

noun
a person or thing that is disabled or ineffectual
stock exchange a speculator who cannot discharge his liabilities
a company with a large workforce and high prestige that is unable to meet foreign competition without government support
US
  1. an elected official or body of officials remaining in office in the interval between the election and inauguration of a successor
  2. (as modifier)a lame-duck president
(modifier) US designating a term of office after which the officeholder will not run for re-election
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

Cultural definitions for lame duck

lame duck

A public official or administration serving out a term in office after having been defeated for reelection or when not seeking reelection.

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.

Other Idioms and Phrases with lame duck

lame duck

An elected officeholder whose term of office has not yet expired but who has failed to be re-elected and therefore cannot garner much political support for initiatives. For example, You can't expect a lame duck President to get much accomplished; he's only got a month left in office. This expression originated in the 1700s and then meant a stockbroker who did not meet his debts. It was transferred to officeholders in the 1860s. The Lame Duck Amendment, 20th to the U.S. Constitution, calls for Congress and each new President to take office in January instead of March (as before), thereby eliminating the lame-duck session of Congress.

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