Ducks In A Row

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Ducks In A Row : Phrases


To have things in order.


If you don't get your
ducks in a row, you will be replaced.


Baby ducklings swim in a straight line behind the mother duck. If the ducklings stray to far, the mother duck will get them back in line, that is get her ducks in a row.

Alternative: Contrary to popular belief this phrase has nothing to do with little yellow ducklings following their Mother duck all in a straight line. Landlubbers use the phrase to mean "get your business organized", but sailors know that this expression comes from the boatbuilding trade. Unbeknownst to a lot of people, a "duck" is a great big thing, bigger than your car that is so heavy that it has to be moved with a crane, and has jaws that open to make it a giant vise. The U.S. Navy (when building a new ship) lines up a number of ducks with a laser bean so that they are absolutely straight in a line; then the beginning piece of the new boat (the keel) is clamped in. The ducks hold the keel perfectly straight so the ship will be absolutely square athwart and fore-an-aft when it is being constructed. And so the first thing that is done in shipbuilding is to "get your ducks in a row".

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