I am not sure about the meaning of the phrase "duck-off" in the following sentence:

You should get ready for the duck-off!

The sentence is from a game where players must hatch as many ducks as possible. Some ducks are born mutants and players need to get rid of them. Maybe there is an idiomatic connotation here that I am not aware of.

I found the following meanings of the word "duck-off" that don't seem to be relevant:

  1. To lie down (Wikionary)
  2. A polite way of asking a duck to leave you alone. (Urban Dictionary)
  • Please provide more information on the context in which the phrase is used. The term is evidently made up by the writer, but it might refer to the start of the game, by analogy with phrases like "kick-off" (used in soccer, rugby, and many other ball games) and "face-off" in hockey and lacrosse. Whether this makes sense or not, only someone with the rules can say.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 13, 2022 at 14:34
  • My guess is it's wordplay riffing off constructions like The Great British Bake-Off and (primarily American) chili cook-offs. The fact that duck here is a noun rather than a verb is no reason for the wordplay to be "unacceptable". Nov 13, 2022 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


The expression is a humorous way of describing a competition involving imaginary ducks in a game. There may be a possibility of word play involving a well-known vulgar word which rhymes with 'duck', often followed by 'off' in a rude expression meaning 'go away at once!'.

Often a verb, noun, or phrase ending in 'off' is used when some kind of finality is being expressed.

A number of idioms related to competitions, (sporting or otherwise, e.g. elections) have an -off suffix. For example, where two candidates in a election have an equal number of votes, a 'run-off' or 'runoff' is held. In these contexts, a 'something off' is a activity which decides a winner.



run·​off ˈrən-ˌȯf

: a final race, contest, or election to decide an earlier one that has not resulted in a decision in favor of any one competitor.


—used for a public contest for amateur cooks in which contestants must prepare and bake their entries within a stated time



less commonly play-off

: a final contest, series of contests, or period of play to determine the winner between contestants or teams that have tied

(All Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

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