MEANING: noun: One that seems unattractive or unpromising at first but has great potential and later turns out to be quite attractive or successful.

ETYMOLOGY: From the protagonist of the story “The Ugly Duckling” by Hans Christian Andersen, in which a young bird believes himself to be a duck and is unhappy because he doesn’t look like a duck, only to later learn that (spoiler alert) he is a beautiful swan. Earliest documented use: 1877.

UGLI DUCKLING - a Jamaican variant of canard à l'orange

TUGLY DUCKLING - an immature duck who won't let go of a particularly tasty crumb

UGLY DUNKLING - a falling-apart doughnut (dipped in coffee too long)