The name "duck" comes from the Dutch "doek," a linen cloth. All canvas was once made from hemp, so this different name was adopted for cotton and linen versions.
Duck cloth has an enormous range of applications. Lighter-weight versions are used for such things as clothing and bags, while heavier weights are made into tarpaulins, sneakers and sails.
Duck is relatively inexpensive and extremely durable. It can be washed and weatherproofed.
It also dyes easily.
Cotton duck is graded on a scale of 1 to 12. The lower the number, the heavier the grade.
Duck is what's known as a plain-weave fabric, meaning the threads alternate one-over, one-under, creating a checkerboard-like appearance.