A lame duck - Idiom of the Week

A lame duck - Idiom of the Week

So a lame duck, an eager beaver, and a cat in pajamas walk into a bar…..

No… we’ll stop there. That’s too much.


As defined in Linda and Roger Flavell’s book Dictionary of Idioms and Their Origins, “a lame duck” is an idiom that means “an ineffectual person, a failing business.” (page 105)

While you hope that you are neither of these things, it’s still an important idiom to know!


This idiom made its first appearance in the New York Stock Exchange in the eighteenth century. During this time, animal idioms and references filled the stock exchange’s slang. For example, a bull was “a speculator for a rise in the price of shares,” a bear was “a speculator for a fall in prices,” and a lame duck is “a broker who cannot [honor] his financial commitments” (page 105).