Ay up me duck!

Written by Aaron Betesta

Laughtercise Owner & Facilitator of Fun

You’re currently scratching your head. Is it the head of a duck?

Because you’ve just been called a duck and you’re wondering why. You’re wondering if you’ve been taking too many pouting selfies and people are noticing.



What does ‘Ay Up Me Duck’ mean?


You’ll be glad to know that – whoever has said “ay up me duck” to you – is glad to see you and it’s a term of endearment. So you’re not completely quackers! It’s just like informally saying “hello my friend!”

Ay up me duck FACT 1: The use of the word duck comes from olde English, ‘Duca’ or ‘Duke’ which is a term of endearment

You’re not alone in googling what it means. In fact, around 3000 people search for it (and the variations of the saying) on Google per month, according to the SEO tracker AHREFS


Where does ‘Ay Up Me Duck’ come from?


Ay Up Me Duck comes from Derby. No wait…Leciester. Or is it Nottingham?! Step into the heated debate…

I’ve lived in Derby all my life. I often heard it (and said it) growing up. It was quite common to hear it at market places. No one is completely certain where it originated exactly from. It’s a big debate and the debating gets heated. Probably as heated as ‘who have the best fans, Derby, Leicester or Forest?’ But that’s a debate for another day (the answer is Derby by the way)

However, it can be pretty certain it’s East Midlands in origin. Leicester? Nottingham? Derby? As I’m from Derby, I’m saying Derby.


Ay up me duck FACT 2: Angelina Jolie said it to Derby actor Jack O’Connell at an awards ceremony!

Angelina jolie picture

Angelina Jolie thinks Derby. End of story. Case closed

But there is still fierce debate to contend with. Is it spelt ‘ay’ or ‘ey’???


Ay up me duck FACT 3: In 2010, the owners of Dancing Duck Brewery (the name was inspired from the saying by the way) launched their best selling beer, but couldn’t agree if it’s spelt ‘Ay Up’ or ‘Ey Up’, So they launched two pump clips, one for each variation

ay up duck beerey up duck beer

Can you guess which one was most popular…? The answer is at the bottom of the blog…


For now, forget the debate about spelling. The main fact is the most searches on Google are for ‘ay up me duck’. The people have spoken they’ve said ‘ay’.



There are multiple variations of the saying (big sigh and head shake)


Where does ‘Ey Up Duck’ come from?


Common in Yorkshire and ‘up north’ is ‘Ey up duck’. Sometimes spelt with ‘ey’ and with ‘ay’.

ey up duck graphic

Have you gone quackers yet…?!

duck quacking

Take a deep breath and focus on why it’s being said…


Why do people say ‘Ay Up Me Duck’?


People say ‘Ay Up Me Duck’ when they are pleased to see someone and it’s like saying “hello, I’ve missed you being around”.As mentioned, I used to hear it at market stalls, usually with a bit of cheekiness…“Ay up me duck, checking out those steaks are you? 瞿5 a go those are, but for you love, 瞿4.50”.

If you’ve recently moved to the Midlands, maybe into a new job, and someone says it to you after a couple of weeks, take it as a sign that they are welcoming you into their culture.

You’ve been accepted

It’s time to celebrate, you’re in the ‘Ay Up Me Duck’ club 元儭

Life achievement unlocked

That moves us nicely on to how to properly reciprocate the saying…


How do you say ‘Ay Up Me Duck’?


Here are our rules. Which will be debated. But we don’t mind. What fun is the world without a bit of healthy debate?! Feel free to contact us below and debate away!

Rule No.1 – Even though it’s four syllables, it should sound like two, you have to say it as one and within half a second

Rule No.2 – It has to be said with energy, cheekiness, bright eyes and a big smile

Rule No.3 – Do not say it to someone you aren’t genuinely happy to see

Rule No.4 – Do not say it if you aren’t feeling great, leave it for another day; it has to be said with conviction

Rule No.5 – Don’t overuse it, save it for big bursts of welcoming energy



You’re now an expert on all things ‘Ay Up Me Duck’.

You’ll be using it like a duck master soon.

Good luck me duck.

Love the Laughtercise Team (proudly born in the Midlands)


Whether you’re looking for a unique hen do idea for your hen crew ora corporate team building workshop for your team, a Laughtercise session is all about creating as many smiles and laughter in your group as humanely possible!

Weve scoured the world for the best exercises, activities and games that bring out smiles and giggles.

We would love to tell you that weve invented loads of activities but we havent invented ANYTHING. Weve taken the best that exists, combined it together and made it better她ur very own original recipe.

Simple ideas, simple games, all facilitated expertly.

We deliver sessions in-person or online.

Is your room small? Is it large? Inside? Outside? We’ll be there! We will work around you.

For team building sessions, we can come to your office or away day location. For hen parties, we can come to your accommodation or a private room that you’ve booked.

Our Corporate Team Building Workshops vary from 10-minute energising conferences sessions to full away day sessions of 4hs

Our Corporate Wellbeing Workshops can vary in length from 1hr to 3hrs

Our Online Team Building Workshops can vary in length from 30mins to 1.5hrs

For online sessions, the attendee limit is 1000.

For in-person sessions, the only limit is how much room you have (the more the merrier!)

Our prices vary depending on the number of attendees, how long the session is for and where the session is held.

We can guarantee you this though…in terms of bang for buck, you’ll get a sonic boom

Let’s get some time to discuss, get in touch

Our Corporate Team Building Workshops have been described as the most fun Ive ever had at work by Amazon employees and in a recent NHS study, 77% of NHS session attendees reported feeling less stressed after their Laughtercise session.

Hens love Laughtercise too

“It was so good, everyone loved it. We all highly recommend, the Laughtercise Team are an absolute dream. It was INCREDIBLE”

But the only way to truly find out, is to dive in and get smiling!

We will rock your world

Yes, loads!

Take your pick

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Energisers For Conferences

5 Hen Party Games that you can facilitate yourself

NHS Staff Wellbeing resource for NHS wellbeing leads and staff




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