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Ducks in a Row: What Does it Really Mean?

The expression “ducks in a row” means to be well organized… because as everyone knows, when your ducks are standing in a circle, it means either a) your life is chaotic or b) you’re in preschool playing duck, duck, goose.

But etymologists clearly don’t have their ducks in a row because no one really seems to know the origins of the phrase.

While we use the phrase to describe that person who is on top of it all, ducks in a row was first used to describe:

  • the way ducklings follow their mamas in a line
  • devices that hold a ship’s keel in place (they need to be in an absolutely straight line - in a row - before ship building begins)
  • lined-up wooden bowling pins, which were called “ducks”

Memo to people coming up with catchy expressions: Please put your names on them. We find that iron-on labels work really well.

Meanwhile, whatever the origins of the expression, Cozi is committed to keeping your ducks in perfect order.

That’s why, on June 5th, Cozi will be making history by lining up a world-record number of ducks* in our hometown of Seattle, Washington. Put it on your calendar!

Get in the car, book your plane tickets, take the train, sail the seas, or… just follow us on Twitter ( for a play-by-play.

*We’re not using bowling pins or live baby ducks. We’re using rubber duckies as they are the most adorable and the least likely to leave eggshells and feathers lying around.


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