What Does Duck Mean?

In IT, one might hear professionals using the word “duck” in kind of an unusual way – a “duck” feature is an unnecessary feature that might be put into a project, with the intention of drawing attention away from any other changes that clients, producers or other third parties might request.


Techopedia Explains Duck

Part of the urban legend around the “duck” feature goes back to a story about the development of a Battle Chess game some decades ago. The story goes that one of the programmers inserted an animated duck into the animation sequence in such a way that it could easily be removed, with the intention of allowing third parties to request changes without unnecessarily messing around with what the programmers saw as a perfectly sufficient result. In this story, those who were evaluating the project said it was perfect, but the programmers needed to “just get rid of the duck.” This idea stuck, and now programmers might add “duck” features as a way to make project development more efficient.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.