• An unfounded rumor or story.
  • A small winglike projection attached to an aircraft forward of the main wing to provide extra stability or control, sometimes replacing the tail.

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Example Sentences

“Contrary to the rapidly spreading canard, the lead actor would not be making a special appearance after the show.”

“Joseph added a canard to his design, hoping it would stabilize the airplane prototype.”

“Do the students believe that canard about the gym teacher being a werewolf?”

Word Origin

French, mid-19th century

Why this word?

In French, “canard” means both “duck” and “hoax,” from the Old French word “caner” (“to quack”). Birds and pranks don’t seem to have much in common, but there’s an old French saying, “vendre un canard à moitié” (which translates to “half sell a duck”). The loose implication here is that a sale of a partial duck is no sale, and the seller has been fooled. Furthering the connection, an independent satirical French weekly called “Le Canard Enchaîné,” or “The Chained Duck,” was founded in 1916 and continues to print today.

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