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Ducks on the pond

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on October 21, 2008 at 20:30

In Reply to: Ducks on the pond posted by Gary on October 21, 2008 at 08:06:

: I read in your Forum where the expression "Ducks on the pond" is attributed to American Baseball. I had thought that it was an old Sailors warning for when Women were boarding a ship so as to avoid profanities. However I note it is also attributed to a similar warning given (in my County Australia) by Shearers when Women were entering the Shearing Shed. I wonder what the real origin is?

It may be relevant that there's an old amd well-known English nursery rhyme (first recorded in 1831) that starts:
Oh, what have you got for dinner, Mrs Bond?
There's beef in the larder, and ducks in the pond;
Dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come to be killed,
For you must be stuffed and my customers filled!
(the whole song can be found here:
So the phrase "ducks in the pond" as a refrain would have been well known and as it were available to English-speakers, whether sailors or sheep-shearers, or whatever. (VSD)