DEFINITION of 'Lame Duck'

1. A person who has defaulted on his or her debts or has gone bankrupted due to the stock market. The phrase is said to have originated from the London Stock Market during the 1700s and was used to describe individuals who were ineffective traders.

2. A politician who has chosen not to seek re-election, is ineligible to run for office again or has lost an election but is still in office until the election winner takes control of the office.

BREAKING DOWN 'Lame Duck'

1. A trader or investor who makes poor trades and ends up with heavy losses over time would be considered a "lame duck."

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