Duck the question

Ducks are the funniest

Apparently ducks are the funniest animals of all. A “scientific” experiment run by psychologist Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire, UK, in 2002, found that it is the world’s funniest animal. “If you’re going to tell a joke involving an animal, make it a duck,” Wiseman said.

I did find a few jokes on the Internet but nothing that would make me think that including a duck in a joke made it funnier.

A man and a duck are walking along a road together. The man notices a low-flying airplane coming right for them. The man yells “DUCK!” and the duck looks back at the man with an angry face and yells “MAN!”

A pretty young duck asks her beautician for some lipstick. The beautician asks her how she would like to pay and she says “Just put it on my bill, please”!

The origin of the word duck

“Duck” replaced the Old English word “ened” as the bird’s name. Other Germanic languages still have similar words for the bird–Dutch has “eend” and German has “Ente”. My surname, Entwisle, is derived from a place name thought to mean something like duck island (and by a strange coincidence some of my ancestors were poultry experts but that’s a story for another day).

However, “duck” derives from “ducker”, which probably come from the Old English word “ducan” meaning to bend down low, or dive.

There are essentially two kinds: divers and dabblers. The divers are much better swimmers than the dabblers and feed in deeper water. Dabblers, also known as puddle ducks, rarely dive but eat on the surface or on shallow bottoms by upending themselves on the water surface.

We guess that the puddleducks or dabblers of Medieval England started to be called duckers because of the way they ducked down to feed. Therefore the bird in my first joke should not have been upset by having his name confused with the action of bending down to avoid the collision.

For information on lining up your ducks for tenders.