What does the term "duck-quacking" mean?


Expect the casino industry to go all in on DFS as well, positioned as it is, with its savvy, resources and movement toward online casino gambling.

There can be little doubt of this duck-quacking. The business model of DFS totally mimics the pari-mutuel pool of racetracks and even in some ways, casino gambling.

Source: SeekingAlpha.com, about halfway into article.

  • DFS seems to mean "Daily Fantasy Sports" in this context.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 18, 2015 at 22:25
  • What's in a name? that which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet; Nov 19, 2015 at 3:43

3 Answers 3


This is a reference to the (humorous or ironic) duck idiom: If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

used to say that something is probably exactly what it seems to be and we should trust our judgment about it:

They're calling it a clinic, not a prison, but if it looks like a duck and swims like a duck, then it is a duck, I think.

In the same manner, the author claims that the business model of DFS is that of parimutuel pool of racetracks and even casino gambling, because it operates in the same manner. It's a duck because it quacks like one.


The author of this article is relying on his reader being familiar with an old expression: If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

In an implied parallel, the author is asserting that since Daily Fantasy Sports looks like casino gambling, and does things that casino gambling does, then it must be equivalent to casino gambling.

  • 1
    This should be the accepted answer. Who do you trust more? A cryptic name like "A.P.", or a guy who actually has duck in his name?! (no offense to @A.P. ...)
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 18, 2015 at 22:23
  • 3
    I swim, but not like a duck. I quack, but not like a duck. I look nothing at all like a duck. Some friends in college nicknamed me The Duck. I incorporated a duck into my personal coat-of-arms. However, I don't know what conclusions we can draw from this.
    – cobaltduck
    Nov 18, 2015 at 23:00
  • I've always heard it as "walks like a duck". Also, "it waddles and quacks". Nov 18, 2015 at 23:56

Another thought - Have you seen a flock of ducks when danger threatens? One starts quacking in a more strident manner than normal, and turns and moves away from the danger. The other ducks will take up the cry and do the same, being loud and moving away until the danger is over.

So in context of the question, all the casinos are reacting to a new threat by "parroting" the same calls as the others.

  • @Criggie...anecdotally, I watched a flock of ducks on my pond a few days ago. A large hawk flew in and perched in a tree over them, and immediately, the ducks formed a solid mass in the middle of the pond.
    – dwoz
    Nov 18, 2015 at 22:45
  • Downvoters are welcome to comment on why. Merely being different does not warrant a downvote. Why do you think I'm wrong?
    – Criggie
    Nov 19, 2015 at 0:03
  • @Criggie...welcome to StackExchange. There are several forums here that have reputations for cabalist behavior...parenting...skeptics...there are a few others...including this one. My thoughts? You'll probably get some pedantic non-excuse such as "you didn't cite some source" (no matter how ridiculous that source may be...)
    – dwoz
    Nov 19, 2015 at 0:25
  • I can't deny that it's an interesting theory. However, I think that the sentence that follows it explains the term by rephrasing it as "[X] totally mimics [Y]", which favours the "if it looks/swims/quacks like a duck" etymology.
    – Rhymoid
    Nov 19, 2015 at 11:56

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