Definition of duel in English:



  • 1A prearranged contest with deadly weapons between two people in order to settle a point of honour.

    ‘twice he had seriously wounded men in duels’
    • ‘Their betrothal is interrupted by an argument between their fathers and Guido has to defend the family honour in a duel, killing Lotario.’
    • ‘Men had to defend their wives' honour in duels and sometimes ended up having to shoot their best friend as a result of a harmless (by today's standards) misunderstanding.’
    • ‘He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel.’
    • ‘As late as 1838, members of the American legislature were engaging in duels to settle disputes.’
    • ‘Any civil disputes, in future, will be settled via a duel.’
    affair of honour, mano-a-mano, single combat
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    1. 1.1(in modern use) a contest between two parties.
      ‘he won by a short head after a great final-furlong duel’
      • ‘Their semi-final duel with Banbridge at Rifle Park was always going to a special day and the Banbridge men made sure that all the stops were pulled out to impress both on and off the pitch.’
      • ‘But almost always, awards result in controversies and verbal duels.’
      • ‘Such long-winding queues are not without their liberal dose of verbal duels about who jumped the queue or who ought to pay first making onlookers wonder who is better at it - children or parents.’
      • ‘He entered into a verbal duel with his officer and later opened indiscriminate fire at him.’
      • ‘This contest produced a thrilling duel between the Rosewell House winner and Full Cream but Smullen did his work well and increased his lead at the top of the jockeys table.’
      • ‘When fighting out an epic duel with Courier in the Australian Open a few years ago Sampras appeared on the verge of collapse from cramp.’
      • ‘Crowds flocked to world championship duels on the Wanganui River, in Sydney and on the Zambesi River.’
      • ‘The ruling is incapable of ending the duel between the opposition and the ruling party.’
      • ‘Falvelon's victory in the Sprint came after a testing duel in the final furlong with American challenger Morluc.’
      • ‘To take the gold, Carter engaged in a head-to-head duel with his countryman, world champion Bevan Docherty.’
      • ‘In three head-to-head duels with Ben Hogan, including the 1954 Masters playoff, Snead won them all.’
      • ‘He turns aggressive and a verbal duel follows, shattering any semblance of peace that remains.’
      • ‘The pairs contest was an exciting duel between China and Canada.’
      • ‘We entertained ourselves with a talent show, boxing matches and tug-of-war duels.’
      • ‘Chess' popularity was boosted in the 1980s by championship duels between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov (both from the former USSR).’
      • ‘For Mickelson, the next decade will bring a lot more excitement, majors and, we hope, head-to-head duels with Woods.’
      • ‘He likes to take on the bowlers and it is not averse to verbal duels if required.’
      • ‘History would always lend its own edge to modern duels between these two clubs.’
      • ‘In 1972 the two had fought out an epic duel for the Open championship at Muirfield.’
      • ‘The President won a clear victory in the second encounter - the month-long duel of the political conventions.’
      contest, competition, match, game, event, fixture, meet
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  • Fight a duel or duels.

    ‘shall we duel over this?’
    ‘duelling had been forbidden for serving officers’
    • ‘Reliable sources indicate that he has won 410 of 430 fights, an incredible record when one considers that since 1986 he has duelled only with the best competition in the world.’
    • ‘It's especially fun to watch and listen to other people when they are duelling with their wits, mainly because they will probably reveal some secret or some gossip that they weren't supposed to let slip.’
    • ‘They made it look easy, and I thought that maybe I could win the fight by dueling like they had.’
    • ‘Colin and Miriam are dueling fiercely near the bar, their blades clashing against each other.’
    • ‘Some versions even have Popper and Wittgenstein duelling with a pair of pokers.’
    • ‘Waugh has duelled with Smith since their under-21 days and knows only too well that he held the upper hand for just two Tests in 2001 when he was last preferred.’
    • ‘So, after days spent duelling and fighting, I was able to go back and soak in warm mineral baths overlooking the magnificent Tuscan countryside.’
    • ‘The second game was much more even with the pitchers duelling and well supported by good defensive work.’
    • ‘The kite-strings were coated with ground glass, and people duelled with them, trying to cut other people's kite strings with their own.’
    • ‘Fencing was founded in the 1800s based on the three types of sword dueling.’
    • ‘Some men may have dueled to kill an adversary, but most gentlemen fought duels to demonstrate that they did not fear death at the hands of their social equals.’
    • ‘The battle raged on until the two brothers dueled and died together.’
    • ‘Some writers on the sport describe fencing as ‘chess with muscles’, highlighting the careful strategies and mind games that go into duelling.’
    • ‘In the late 1970s, when Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman played divorced parents duelling over custody of their son, the idea of fathers' rights was new.’
    • ‘At the time of going to Press last night, the two combatants were duelling in a tie breaker to decide who advances to the quarter-finals.’
    • ‘He is the ring leader of the illegal street duelling.’
    • ‘Strictly speaking, fencing refers not to duelling, but to a game that has developed from the non-lethal practice in the techniques and skills required to attack and defend with a blade.’
    • ‘I feel like we are duelling with each other, in some kind of friendly competition.’
    • ‘Boomtown Houston of the past was infamous for brawling and duelling.’
    • ‘In practice many monarchs tried to eliminate duelling, which was disruptive, particularly at court or in the armed forces.’
    fight a duel
    fight, clash, battle, combat, contend
    go out
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Late 15th century: from Latin duellum, archaic and literary form of bellum war, used in medieval Latin with the meaning combat between two persons, partly influenced by dualis of two. The original sense was ‘single combat used to decide a judicial dispute’; the sense ‘contest to decide a point of honour’ dates from the early 17th century.