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duck 1 (dŭk)
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n.
1. Any of various wild or domesticated waterbirds of the family Anatidae, characteristically having a broad flat bill, short legs, and webbed feet.
2. A female duck.
3. The flesh of a duck used as food.
4. Slang A person, especially one thought of as peculiar.
5. often ducks (used with a sing. verb) Chiefly British A dear.

[Middle English doke, from Old English dūce, possibly from *dūcan, to dive; see DUCK2.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
duck 2 (dŭk)
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v. ducked, duck·ing, ducks
v.tr.
1. To lower quickly, especially so as to avoid something: ducked his head as the ball came toward him.
2. To evade; dodge: duck responsibility; ducked the reporter's question.
3. To push (a person, for example) suddenly under water.
4. In bridge, to deliberately play a card that is lower than (an opponent's card).
v.intr.
1. To lower the head or body.
2. To move swiftly, especially so as to escape being seen: ducked behind a bush.
3. To submerge the head or body briefly in water.
4. To evade a responsibility or obligation. Often used with out: duck out on one's family.
5. In bridge, to lose a trick by deliberately playing lower than one's opponent.
n.
1. A quick lowering of the head or body.
2. A plunge under water.

[Middle English douken, to dive, possibly from Old English *dūcan; akin to Middle Low German and Middle Dutch dūken.]

ducker n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
duck 3 (dŭk)
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n.
1. A durable, closely woven heavy cotton or linen fabric.
2. ducks Clothing made of duck, especially white pants.

[Dutch doek, cloth, from Middle Dutch doec.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
duck 4 (dŭk)
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n.
1. An amphibious military truck used during World War II.
2. A similar vehicle used for civilian purposes, as to evacuate flood victims or for sightseeing tours. In both senses also called DUKW.

[Alteration (influenced by DUCK1) of DUKW.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendicies

    Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:

    Indo-European Roots

    Semitic Roots

    The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.

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