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Ducking

This morning, I learned a new word from O Pioneers!: ducking.
"Now for a ducking, my girl," he said to the mare, gathering up the reins.

As they emerged from the shed, a stream of water, running off the thatch, struck the mare on the neck. She tossed her head indignantly, then struck out bravely on the soft ground, slipping back again and again as she climbed the hill to the main road.
Ivar the farmhand is steering his horse and wagon out of the barn, and into a downpour. Though the most common verb usage of "duck" means to dodge, avoid or evade, Webster's also notes "to thrust under water" or "to plunge under the surface of water" as definitions. Ivar is clearly referring to an imminent drenching, akin to those latter definitions.

October 16, 2015 in Books | Permalink

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