Ducks in a row (1938)

Mark A Mandel mam at THEWORLD.COM
Fri Sep 6 13:48:44 UTC 2002

On Fri, 6 Sep 2002 RonButters at AOL.COM wrote:

#What does "most likely" mean? That there is some empirical evidence for this,
#or just that this is the best guess that someone could come up with? "To have
#one's ducks in a row" means to be well organized with respect to some
#particular project. Since there is no human agency involved in birds walking
#single-file, this seems a bit of a stretch, especially if we are to assume
#that English-speaking people got it from "Gänsemarsch" in the 1930s, when the
#Nazi-goose connection seemed laughable (or worse) to most people.

Going back to _Make Way For Ducklings_, as an exemplar of the
single-file behavior of momma duck and babies, I think that the duck
connection *is* semantically plausible (not that I have any citational
or other evidence for it). Momma duck is the leader and organizer of the
expedition.  Having the ducklings in a row following her is necessary to
its success.

-- Mark A. Mandel

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