have one's ducks in a row

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Alternative forms[edit]


Perhaps from the image of ducklings following their mother in an orderly line. See also line up one's ducks.


  • (file)


have one's ducks in a row (third-person singular simple present has one's ducks in a row, present participle having one's ducks in a row, simple past and past participle had one's ducks in a row)

  1. (idiomatic) To be organized; to have one's affairs in order; specifically, to have a multi-person effort coordinated towards the exact same goal.
    Wouldn't it be nice to have our ducks in a row and not have to search for the papers every time we needed them?
    • 1911, Kate Langley Bosher, Miss Gibbie Gault[1]:
      "You didn't need us." The man standing next to the steps laughed. "The work was done before to-night. You had your ducks in a row all right."

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