Origin of the term
The term dates back to the 1300s when the word dudde referred to a cloak (cape) or mantle of coarse (rough) cloth. Over time, it came to refer to shabby clothing meaning worn-out or ragged clothing. It is a cognate (‘related word’) of duds (i.e., “clothing”) and dowdy (‘frumpy, not stylish’). The sense of inferiority (ragged ‘wearing rags’) denotes something that fails to function.
A dud bomb
Eventually dud became a general pejorative for something useless. For instance, a dud bomb is an ammunition round or explosive that fails to fire or detonate.
- Dud bomb sparks panic at Metro site
- Dud bomb on Swedish terror lorry
- A dud bomb, a foiled bank heist and a very twisted plot
Milk Duds are a caramel candy, covered with a confectionery coating made from cocoa and vegetable oil. According to the manufacturer, the word “Milk” in the name refers to a large amount of milk in the product; the use of “dud” came about because the original aim of having a perfectly spherical piece was found to be impossible.