(like) water off a duck's back

This page is about the idiom (like) water off a duck's back


You can say an insult or criticism is like water off a duck's back if it doesn't upset you.

For example

  • I asked Amy if she got upset when journalists wrote negative things about her, and she said she didn't care what they wrote - it was like water off a duck's back.

  • Terry said he was too sensitive about criticism and he wanted to be like one of those people for whom it's like water off a duck's back.

Origin: Probably related to the fact that ducks have oily feathers and water can't get through them, so water runs off their backs. In the same way, criticism can either get through to someone and upset them, or not get through to them and not upset them, and be "like water off a duck's back."

Quick Quiz

Many people claim that insults or negative comments are like water off a duck's back, but in reality, many of them are

a. pleased by such things

b. upset by such things

c. unaffected by such things
a) pleased by such things b) upset by such things c) unaffected by such things

See Idiom of the Day today

Contributor: Matt Errey