Congress returns next week for that peculiar order of business known as a lame-duck session. It’s a post-election gathering where lawmakers who lost re-election get to take any final votes, while newcomers who won in the Nov. 2 midterms have to sit it out.

The hot item to watch will be whether extending the Bush-era tax cuts will fly, but don’t expect any Peking duck, as legislation on China’s currency is unlikely to be on the menu. (Hey, it’s Friday).

All the duck talk got us to revisit the origin of the phrase “lame duck.”

It’s British! And it wasn’t even about politics.

NORTHERN IRELAND/The phrase originated in the London Stock Market, referring to investors who couldn’t pay their debts. The following are some citations at The Phrase Finder.

– In Horace Walpole’s Letters to Sir Horace Mann, 1761, there is: “Do you know what a Bull, and a Bear, and a Lame Duck are?”