Duck, duckie

Posted by R. Berg on February 27, 2002

In Reply to: PS: Previous Thread: Duck, love and duck-love posted by TheUnlurker on February 27, 2002

: : : : : : : Ducks -- "Buildings that are meant to mimic things, such as objects or animals, are called 'Ducks,' and are among the most popular roadside attractions. The term 'duck' came about in reference to one building, The Big Duck in Riverhead, Long Island, but the term now refers to all buildings which are disguised as other sorts of objects."

: : : : : : :

: : : : : : : OK, it's not exactly a phrase. But I think it's interesting.

: : : : : :
: : : : : : If it looks like a duck and walks like a duck, it's a duck. It could a a dry cleaners.

: : : : :
: : : : : The French would probably consider it a canard.

: : : : : psi

: : : : Back in the 1930s, when I was a boy in the East End of London, and for many years after, 'ducks' was a cockney expression of familiarity between acquaintances. I've forgotten how many times I heard the greengrocer say to my mother, " 'ow are yer then, ducks." Origin? - I don't know, but rhyming slang is probably in there somewhere.

: : :
: : : Love' is used in the same way today "'ow are yer then, love?" It's usually used when adressing a woman. However, a friend from Plymouth who worked up north told me told me men, even big, burley labourers he worked with, used it as a form of address with one another. Which made my friend nervous.

: : : Anyway this got me to thinking of terrible American movies of the 60's in which colourful, earthy, cockney or possibly liverpudlian women say things like "Lord love a duck". Tell me someone, is that *really* an expression?
: : : What is it supposed to mean? Does it have anything to do with 'love' and 'duck' as a term of familiarity?

: : Two things, one scary.
: : "Lord, love a duck", or just simply, "Love a duck" are certainly used, it's origin? Who knows, but, the way it is spoken suggests that it's some euphemistic coddled half rhyme. "[F-word] a duck!" is heard too, but if you made me guess I'd say it post-dates the usage of "Love a duck!".

: : Scary thing. In Dudley (which is a boil on a carbuncle somewhere in the midlands of England) the familiar "Ducks" is used my both men and women to persons of either gender! Really, you might just be stood at a bar waiting to purchase a full English-pint of Best Manly Bitter, when the heavily moustachioed barkeep will approach and say "Yes ducks, what can I get you?" It takes a strong man to stop water coming to his eyes I can tell you.

: : TheUnlurker

: PS: oh, and of course there is this short previous discussion on "Love a duck"
: bulletin_board 2 messages 128.html
: and this page on London Slang which at least confirms its usage

: As an aside, can anyone explain the bizarre hits that one gets if one searches for --
: "love a duck" etymology
: -- at Google?

Those links go to pornography sites where "love a duck" is probably taken literally.

Eric Partridge on "duck" (yeah, yeah, we all see the puns):
DUCK. . . . A colloquial endearment: from ca. 1590. Shakespeare. Hence, in admiration, as is the adj. 'ducky.' Leman Rede, 1841, 'Oh, isn't he a duck of a fellow?'
DUCK!, LORD LOVE A. A mild proletarian expletive(-- 1923). Manchon. [i.e., J. Manchon's "Le Slang," 1923]
DUCKY; DUCKIE, adj. Expressive of admiration (see 'duck,' [above]): colloquial; from ca. 1830. --2. n., an endearment, thus a variant of 'duck' [above]: from ca. 1815; colloquial. The former solely, the latter mainly, a woman's term.
(A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English)