dead duck n.
1. a complete, irredeemable failure.
|in DA].Andrew Jackson (1937) 481: Clay [is] a dead political duck [|
|‘Hurrah for Grant!’ Grant Songster 3: We’ve had a tailor at the White House / Who called himself ‘dead ducks’.|
|Men and Mysteries of Wall Street 135: The ‘Lame Duck’ is a broker who has failed to meet his engagements, and a ‘Dead Duck’ is one who is absolutely bankrupt past all recovery.|
|N.Y. Clipper n.p.: Long Branch is said to be a dead duck [...] [F&H].|
|Harrisburg Dly Indep. (PA) 26 May 4/3: Slang in baseball is a dead duck [...] ‘The Saturday Evening Post’ [...] demands that slang be skidooed on account of its ‘degredation of the sport’.|
|N.Y.: Confidential 24: The hotel grills and roofs, forced to go straight to protect huge investments, long were dead ducks by now and so were the hotels.|
|Sweet Thursday (1955) 232: It’s all I have. I’m a dead duck without it.|
|Brown’s Requiem 70: The whole scene is a long-gone dead duck.|
|Indep. 24 July 3: Turkey is a dead duck this summer.|
2. (also dead bird) a hopeless person, one who has absolutely no chance.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 18 Aug. 44/1: I had to make them drunk to get across, and, by Heavens, I’m nearly a dead bird myself.|
|Here Is Your War (1945) 103: Not to go branded a man as a coward. To go might make him a slight hero or a dead duck.|
|Asphalt Jungle in Four Novels (1984) 268: Emmerich’s a dead duck. Take my word for it.|
|Dud Avocado (1960) 13: You’re a dead duck now, I told myself.|
|Among Thieves 411: This inmate Orninski is a dead duck.|
|Last Seen Wearing in Second Morse Omnibus (1994) 450: Phillipson would be a dead duck then, and they’d have to appoint a new headmaster.|
|Stand (1990) 1015: If Tom won’t kill, he’s apt to be a dead duck.|
|Indep. Rev. 9 Sept. 1: He was happy to denounce Mr Hague off the record as a ‘dead duck’ who simply ‘hasn’t got it’.|