Before we critique or praise, let us research. From whence did this word arise?
According to Eric Partridge, “A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English,” “duck” was used as a colloquial endearment from about 1590, and “ducky,” as an adjective expressing admiration, derived from that noun and has been used since about 1830.
Who would mind being called a ducky? Ducks are adorable. They also get the best of both worlds, being excellent swimmers as well as land-nesters. (I just coined a word. I can tell I made it up because my auto-correct-speller just put a squiggly red line underneath it. Heh.)
Look. Just look at how cute!
And who can forget Ernie and his special rubber ducky? It was certainly a significant part of my own childhood. Back when bath toys were an absolute necessity.
I suppose you could destroy childhoods and take that all out of context. “When I squeeze you, you make noise.” But I wouldn’t recommend it. :P Just… ignore the fact that I suggested such a thing. *snork* Right… moving on.
What makes this word even more endearing is the fact that its source derives from the UK, and is in fact still used there. Of course the meaning has had shifts and variations, some of which are not at all nice connotations, but for the most part I like to think it’s retained its respectability as a word that shows fondness.
Since it’s not a very formal word (can also be spelled duckie, which is great because I love the “ie” combination at the end of words) you can use it on everyone you like. Say it with a British accent, though. “‘Ello, ducky!” Don’t say it with a head-tilt to a wench in a closet though, or you’ll be suspected of piracy and botching a well-known movie line.
Hm. Maybe that should be my next sweet word. Poppet…
Until I speak again, duckies!