In Reply to: If it looks like a duck... posted by Cliff Bowman on October 01, 2008 at 14:07:
: I'm confused about the origin of the duck test: "If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it might just be a duck."
: Some websites attribute this to Walter Reuther, the US labor leader who lived from 1907-1970, while others attribute it to James W. Riley, a writer who lived from 1849-1916.
: Could anyone sort this out, please?
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. According to one reference, William Safire, in the New York Times Magazine in 1992, attributed it to Walter Reuther, who was explaining how to identify communists. But the reference also says the phrases has been attributed to Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy (1908-1957). "Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings" by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996). Page 155.