Lame duck

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A lame duck is a politician who has been voted out of office but whose term is not yet up, or a politician who is still in office but cannot run for reelection. Lame duck as applied to a politician is a North American term, though it is gaining usage across the globe. The first American president referred to as a lame duck was Calvin Coolidge. The phrase lame duck may also be used to describe an ineffectual person. Lame duck originated on the London Stock Market in the 1700s to describe an investor who is unable to cover his debts, the plural form is lame ducks. Lame duck is spelled with a hyphen as in lame-duck when used as an adjective before a noun about half the time.


This is especially true given that the only possible reason for bringing up legislation like the Omnibus or this year, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, in a lame duck is to allow some members to claim opposition during their re-election campaign and then vote in favor of it once the votes have been cast. (The Morrow County Sentinel)

Declaring he would not go for a third term, as he campaigned for the second one, leaves him a lame duck premier as soon as this EU referendum is over. (The Daily Record)

“Now her government has received a vote of no confidence, the lame duck period has started earlier than any other administration in the past,” the conservative Chosun Ilbo newspaper said in an editorial. (Reuters)

Even as they hold the line in refusing to grant the president’s Supreme Court nominee a hearing before November, two dozen Republican senators either support or do not rule out allowing a vote to confirm Merrick Garland during the lame-duck session. (The Washington Post)