Definition of Lame Duck

What is a lame duck as it applies to politics? What does the term lame duck mean?

A "lame duck" is a politician who is approaching the end of their time in office.

Lame Duck definition - IllustrationFor instance, the 2008 Presidential election took place in November of 2008. Barack Obama won the election, but current president George W. Bush still had a few months left in office. George W. Bush was called a "lame duck" president because his time in office was coming to an end, but he hadn't actually ended his term as of yet.

"Lame duck" politicians can find it hard to operate in their last few months, especially if they lost their position due to being voted out due to being unpopular with voters. Lame duck presidents generally have a very hard time getting things passed through Congress during their last months in office.

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