- 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 disabled, helpless, ineffective, or inefficient.
- a person who has lost a great deal of money in speculations on the stock market.
Origin of lame duck
Examples from the Web for lame duck
It shouldn't be done by a lame-duck Congress, which is a threat to US sovereignty.Your "Changing" Republican Party
December 4, 2012
And why would she consign herself to lame-duck status, even if two years from now that might be her intention?Nancy Pelosi Decides to Stay as Democratic Leader, Maps Out Women’s Future
November 14, 2012
President Obama said that the lame-duck session of the 111th Congress proves that "we're not doomed to endless gridlock."Suddenly, Washington Works
December 22, 2010
I was actually convinced if it went down he would be a lame-duck president.The Last Blowout
The Daily Beast
October 31, 2010
- 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
- an elected official or body of officials remaining in office in the interval between the election and inauguration of a successor
- (as modifier)a lame-duck president
- (modifier) US designating a term of office after which the officeholder will not run for re-election
Word Origin and History for lame duck
1761, "any disabled person or thing;" especially Stock Exchange slang for "defaulter."
A lame duck is a man who cannot pay his differences, and is said to waddle off. [Thomas Love Peacock, "Gryll Grange," 1861]
Sometimes also in naval use for "an old, slow ship." Modern sense of "public official serving out term after an election" is recorded by 1878 in American English, from an anecdote published in that year of President Lincoln, who is alleged to have said, "[A] senator or representative out of business is a sort of lame duck. He has to be provided for."
A public official or administration serving out a term in office after having been defeated for reelection or when not seeking reelection.
Idioms and Phrases with 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.