Posted by Brian from Shawnee on February 14, 2006
In Reply to: Re: Sitting duck and lay an egg? posted by Smokey Stover on February 14, 2006
: : : what are the origins for sitting duck and lay an egg?
: : I am guessing that "sitting duck" would mean one that is on the ground and easy to shoot. As oppose to one in flight.
: : Lay an egg -- "...The 'egg' was a duck's in British sports lingo: as early as 1863 it was said of a player who failed to score in cricket that he 'achieved a duck's egg.' The point being made was the resemblance of an upright egg to a 0 (zero)..." From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Wings Books, Originally New York: Facts on File Publications, 1985).
: Yes, and the word "love" in tennis for "naught" or "no score" reportedly comes from French "l'oeuf," an egg, which sitting upright in profile somewhat resembles a zero.
: To lay an egg became an immensely popular metaphor, meaning to come a cropper, to bomb out, humiliatingly to fail. SS
Back in elementary school we were threatened with "a big fat goose egg" (a zero) for our test grade if we were caught cheating or talking.