Duck soup

Michael Quinion TheEditor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG
Mon Sep 2 12:51:17 UTC 2002

> Careful etymologies, while fully aware of the vagaries of sound
> over time and contact, would not, in my opinion, simply exploit,
> list-like, those which come to mind first.

But how, without proposing and investigating hypotheses, are you to
know which are the "careful etymologies"? Experience and background
knowledge can take you a long way, of course. But with an expression
as opaque as "duck soup" that may not be very far. I put an origin
forward as a possible etymology for consideration by members of the
list, not as one that should be taken as correct by anyone without
confirmatory evidence. If list contributors think it was a careless
etymology, it would be nice to have some considered arguments as to
why rather than sarcastic comments.

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

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