Duck soup

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Sun Sep 1 11:18:06 UTC 2002

It was I who asked Barry Popik to look into "duck soup", because I
had become stuck on the Tad Dorgan cartoon like everyone else, and
could find no antedating or the slightest clue about what was going
through Dorgan's mind when he used the expression.

In the film, Groucho says "Take two turkeys, one goose, four cabbages
but no duck and mix them all together. After one taste you'll duck
soup for the rest of your life", but this is clearly a post-hoc

The one suggestion that has come in from a subscriber, Terence Sims,
that sounds plausible is that it might be a corruption of "duck
shoot". He points out that wildfowling with a wide-bore punt gun can
kill a a large number of sitting ducks at one time, so may be
considered an easy task.

Michael Quinion
Editor, World Wide Words
E-mail: <TheEditor at>
Web: <>

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