1. a device, person, or enterprise that proves to be a failure.
  2. a shell or missile that fails to explode after being fired.

plural noun Informal.

  1. clothes, especially a suit of clothes.
  2. belongings in general.


  1. a person or thing that proves ineffectual or a failure
  2. a shell, etc, that fails to explode
  3. (plural) old-fashioned clothes or other personal belongings


  1. failing in its purpose or functiona dud cheque

c.1825, “person in ragged clothing,” from duds (q.v.). Sense extended by 1897 to “counterfeit thing,” and 1908 to “useless, inefficient person or thing.” This led naturally in World War I to “shell which fails to explode,” and thence to “expensive failure.”


c.1300, dudde “cloak, mantle,” later in plural, “ragged clothing” (1560s), of uncertain origin.

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