ducky


ducky
   Popular terms of endearment since at least the seventeenth century. In A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nick Bottom as Pyramus utters his famous ‘O dainty duck! O dear!’ to Thisbe, otherwise Flute. There is a less well-known Shakespearean use of ducks in Troilus and Cressida (4:iv). Pandarus greets Troilus with ‘Ah, sweet ducks!’
   In modern Britain ‘duck’ or ‘me duck’ continues to be well used as a friendly term of address in the Midlands, while ‘ducks’ is perhaps the more popular London form. Unconditional Surrender, by Evelyn Waugh, has: “‘Just off, ducks,” she said, using a form of address that had become prevalent during the Blitz.’ In the more recent novel Up the City Road, by John Stroud, ‘ducks’ is used by a policeman in London to address a young woman. It occurs also as a friendly vocative in The Half Hunter, by John Sherwood; The Limits of Love, by Frederic Raphael (where ‘ducky’ is also used); Room at the Top, by John Braine. These scattered instances in no way compare with the forty-nine examples of duck that occur in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, by Alan Sillitoe, which reflects working-class Nottingham life.
   Middle-class speakers also make use of ‘duck’, but tend to make it part of a longer expression. ‘But darling duck,’ says a very middle-class English woman to an intimate woman friend in Don’t Tell Alfred, by Nancy Mitford, ‘we can’t keep them here.’ ‘Stop crying, Crystal, my duck,’ says a middleclass man to a woman in The Word Child, by Iris Murdoch. ‘You little duck’ is used by a boy to his young sister in George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, There seems to be no particular pattern about the use of the diminutive ‘ducky’, or ‘duckie’ as it is often spelt. It occurs, e.g., in Kate and Emma, by Monica Dickens; The Country Girls, by Edna O’Brien. and Thirteen Days, by Ian Jefferies, each time as what seems to be an arbitrary variant of ‘duck’ or ‘ducks’. It is more frequently used in AngloSaxon Attitudes, by Angus Wilson, because it is made a feature of one character’s idiolect. In Gigolo and Gigolette, a short story by Somerset Maugham, a husband says to his wife: ‘Will you stay here, ducky, or would you like to go to your dressing room?’ Used by a man to a woman in this way, this term is friendly if not intimate.
   There are some who would associate the use of ‘ducky’ by a male speaker to almost anyone of his acquaintance, male or female, with homosexuality. Whether this is a justifiable assumption or not probably depends on the area the speaker comes from. ‘Duck’ and its variants are rarely found in novels written by American authors, though The Philanderer, by Stanley Kauffmann, has a man greeting his mistress with: ‘Hello, duck, how are you?’ The Oxford English Dictionary reports that ‘duckling’ was at one time used as an endearment, but this usage appears to have died out.

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • Ducky — may refer to: Ducky Detweiler, (born 1919), American baseball third baseman Dale Hawerchuk (born 1963, nicknamed Ducky ), retired Canadian professional ice hockey centre Ducky Holmes (1869 1932), American baseball outfielder Ducky Holmes… …   Wikipedia

  • ducky — (d[u^]k [y^]), a. 1. fine; satisfactory; excellent. [informal] [PJC] 2. charming; cute. [informal] [PJC] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ducky — (d[u^]k [y^]), n. a special loved one; a darling; used as a term of endearment. [Brit.] Syn: darling, favorite, favourite, pet, dearie, deary. [WordNet 1.5] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ducky — excellent, slang from 1897 (often ironical),perhaps from duckie as a term of endearment (early 19c.). Probably not related to much earlier slang noun meaning a woman s breast [ ...whose pritty duckys I trust shortly to kysse, Henry VIII, c.1536… …   Etymology dictionary

  • ducky — [duk′ē] adj. duckier, duckiest [early 19th c. term of endearment < DUCK1 + Y2] [Old Slang] pleasing, delightful, darling, etc.: often used ironically …   English World dictionary

  • Ducky — Docteur Donald « Ducky » Mallard Donald Mallard Personnage de NCIS : enquêtes spéciales Alias Ducky Origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ducky — Nash beim San Diego Comic Con 1982 Clarence „Ducky“ Nash (* 7. Dezember 1904 in Watonga, Oklahoma; † 20. Februar 1985 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Stimmkünstler, der durch seine Stimme für Donald Duck berühmt wurde und nach dem in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ducky — 1. adjective Great; going well; proceeding in an eminently agreeable fashion. Farnesworth smiled contentedly as he read the stock ticker; all was ducky on Wall Street. Syn: fine, peachy, swell 2. noun a) …   Wiktionary

  • ducky — adjective (duckier; est) Date: 1897 1. darling, cute < a ducky little tearoom > 2. satisfactory, fine < everything is just ducky > …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ducky — duck|y1 [ˈdʌki] n BrE spoken used to speak to someone in a friendly way, especially a woman or child ducky 2 ducky2 adj old fashioned informal 1.) AmE perfect or satisfactory ▪ Well, that s just ducky . 2.) attractive in an amusing or interesting …   Dictionary of contemporary English