Ugly-duckling meaning

One that is considered ugly or unpromising at first but has the potential to become beautiful or admirable in maturity.
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A very plain child or unpromising thing that in time becomes or could become beautiful, admirable, important, etc.
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A young person who is ugly, but who is expected to become beautiful as they mature.
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Origin of ugly-duckling

  • After The Ugly Duckling , a story by Hans Christian Andersen

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From a fairy tale of a duckling, considered ugly, that matures into a magnificent swan.

    From Wiktionary