Ducks and drakes


      • To waste or squander money or resources
        To spend money recklessly or carelessly, without considering the consequences or potential consequences

      • To act carelessly or irresponsibly
        To behave in a reckless or thoughtless manner, often with disregard for the consequences of one's actions

      • To act with arrogance or bravado
        To behave in a boastful or showy manner, often attempting to impress others with one's wealth or status

    Examples of Ducks and drakes

    • Mary threw the pebbles into the pond, watching as they turned into ducks and drakes.

      This idiom refers to the way pebbles skim on the surface of water, causing ripples to form. "Ducks and drakes" is a poetic term for this movement. In this example, it's used metaphorically to describe the way something (like a problem or worry) may appear to be one thing, but in reality, is something else entirely.

    • I'm not sure what's causing all this commotion, but it's turning into ducks and drakes!

      Here, the expression is used to describe a situation that seems chaotic or confusing, but may ultimately have a positive outcome. Like the way a pond clears after the ripples caused by thrown pebbles, the issue at hand may resolve itself in a surprising way.

    • Her tears turned into ducks and drakes as she realized she had overreacted.

      This idiom can also be used to describe aging, changing circumstances, or the passing of time itself. In this example, it's used metaphorically to describe the way a person's emotions or experiences can be fleeting or transitory.

    • The game seemed like a piece of cake at first, but soon it became ducks and drakes.

      This expression can be used to describe a situation that starts out easy or straightforward, but then becomes complex or uncertain. It's as if the initial assumptions or expectations have disappeared, leaving only the ripples caused by an unexpected turn of events.

    • He threw the pebble into the pond, and all we could see were the ripples, ducks and drakes appearing and disappearing in quick succession.

      This idiom means to spend time idly or pointlessly, as the action of throwing stones into water to see the patterns created by the waves is an idle activity. The use of "ducks and drakes" here refers to the patterns created by pebbles or stones being thrown into water, as "ducks" refer to the circles created by larger pebbles, while "drakes" refer to the thin, cigar-shaped lines created by smaller pebbles.

    • After retiring, he spent his days reading, traveling and indulging in ducks and drakes.

      This idiomatic expression means wasting time aimlessly, without any real purpose or productivity. Here, it is used to suggest that the retired person is enjoying his leisure time, but without any serious goals or objectives.

    • The company invested a lot of money in the new product, but all it produced were ducks and drakes.

      This idiomatic expression means that the product was a failure, as the efforts put into it did not yield any useful or profitable results. The use of "ducks and drakes" here suggests that the product failed to create any tangible benefits, like a failed investment scheme.

    • The meeting was a lively affair, with everyone eagerly discussing ideas, and no one wasting their time in ducks and drakes.

      This idiomatic expression means that the meeting was productive and fruitful, and no one wasted their time unproductively. The use of "ducks and drakes" here contrasts with the previous example, where it was used to suggest wasteful activities. Here, it means that there were no idle or unproductive discussions in the meeting.


    The idiom "ducks and drakes" is used to describe reckless and careless behavior, often with regards to spending money or resources. It can also refer to someone acting arrogantly or with bravado, trying to impress others with their wealth or status. In both cases, the underlying intention is to discourage such behavior and caution against its negative consequences.

    The phrase "ducks and drakes" can also be used metaphorically to describe someone who is being wasteful or thoughtless with their actions. It can be seen as a warning against being foolish or irresponsible, and instead encourages responsible and thoughtful behavior.

    Origin of "Ducks and drakes"

    The origin of the idiom "ducks and drakes" is believed to come from a popular game played in the 16th century, also known as "ducks and drakes." The game involved throwing flat stones across a body of water, attempting to make them bounce as many times as possible. This game was often associated with recklessness and wastefulness, leading to the phrase being used to describe such behavior.

    The idiom also has ties to the ancient Roman game "ducks and drakes," which involved throwing coins into water and watching them skip across the surface. This game was often played by wealthy individuals, further linking the phrase to the idea of extravagance and showing off.

    Overall, the origin of the idiom "ducks and drakes" is rooted in games and activities that involved wasting resources and acting recklessly. This has carried over into its modern usage as a caution against similar behavior.