from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An elected officeholder or group continuing in office during the period between failure to win an election and the inauguration of a successor.
  • noun An officeholder who has chosen not to run for reelection or is ineligible for reelection.
  • noun An ineffective person; a weakling.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun colloquial A person or thing that is helpless, inefficient or disabled.
  • noun US, politics An elected official who has lost the recent election or is not eligible for reelection and is marking time until leaving office.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an elected official still in office but not slated to continue


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

18th century - A person who had defaulted in the London Stock Exchange was said to waddle out of Exchange Alley like a lame duck.


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  • See stuff on this list and on lame duckery.

    January 12, 2009

  • As Alaskans, we're so proud that our ex-governor has given a whole new meaning to this term.

    July 4, 2009

  • There's a lipstick-wearing duck joke in there somewhere...

    July 4, 2009

  • Yeah, who knew lame duck could mean "someone who's so lame, they won't even finish their term in office."

    July 6, 2009

  • I'm going to start using the term lame schmuck.

    July 7, 2009

  • I'm also fond of Bil Maher's term retarded flight attendant, although it's a slam on both cognitively challenged people and flight attendants.

    July 7, 2009

  • Damn! There I was in Fairbanks, just a month before the governor's annual picnic! Skip, are you attending?

    July 9, 2009

  • I might go just to watch her squirm.

    July 9, 2009