Fun Stuff/ Research

Get Your Ducks in a Row (Weird Phrases & Their Origins)

Speaking of the Coronavirus…

Just kidding. This isn’t a coronavirus post. (Even though I feel like a lot of people need to get their heads straight right now. Stop buying up all the toilet paper, people! I’m a broke cracker! I don’t have the money to go buy eight years supply of toilet paper – I live paycheck to paycheck. So now I roam every store and stare at all the empty toilet paper shelves, wondering why I have morals that stop me from punching people who stuff their cart full of every roll that exists.)

But I digress.


Ducks in a Row – what does it mean?

Its basically getting your act together. To get organized, get your facts straight, or take care of your responsibilities.

– when did it first appear?

This is a tricky one. The first recorded mention of little duckies in a row was in The Wilmington Messenger, a newspaper article from July 28, 1889. The article in question talks of how a supposed burglar breaks into someone’s house but escapes when she is interrupted. The writer talks of how the would-be burglar had her “ducks in a row”.

There are a few main theories on where this term came from. One of the most popular refers to the duck shaped targets at shooting galleries. The lesser accepted but possible origin comes from a popular bowling game in the 1700s. Duck pins would be used and would be lined up in a row before being bowled over.

-If you ask me, the most likely source of the phrase is how baby ducklings will follow their mother duck. A cute little row of ducklings waddling along to follow their momma duck, all in perfect and organized order.


Do you have all your ducks in a row?


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