- (idiomatic) One who is in serious danger or trouble.
- She's a dead duck if she starts flirting with my boyfriend!
- (idiomatic) A project that is doomed to failure from the start.
- The government decision meant that the proposed boycott of South African goods was a dead duck.
2012 May 9, John Percy, “Birmingham City 2 Blackpool 2 (2-3 on agg): match report”, in the Telegraph:
- They may have finished 11 points behind West Ham and lost both league games, conceding eight goals, but the Tangerine dream remains alive. Holloway said: “We won’t get a bigger test than West Ham but we’ve got one chance. If you’d asked me last summer when I lost all those players I’d have said this was a dead duck, but we don’t lie down at this club.”
person or project that is in serious trouble or doomed to fail
- dead duck at OneLook Dictionary Search