Definition of duel in English:

duel

noun

historical
  • 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’
    • ‘Any civil disputes, in future, will be settled via a duel.’
    • ‘As late as 1838, members of the American legislature were engaging in duels to settle disputes.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘In three head-to-head duels with Ben Hogan, including the 1954 Masters playoff, Snead won them all.’
      • ‘Crowds flocked to world championship duels on the Wanganui River, in Sydney and on the Zambesi River.’
      • ‘He entered into a verbal duel with his officer and later opened indiscriminate fire at him.’
      • ‘He likes to take on the bowlers and it is not averse to verbal duels if required.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We entertained ourselves with a talent show, boxing matches and tug-of-war duels.’
      • ‘The ruling is incapable of ending the duel between the opposition and the ruling party.’
      • ‘To take the gold, Carter engaged in a head-to-head duel with his countryman, world champion Bevan Docherty.’
      • ‘History would always lend its own edge to modern duels between these two clubs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Chess' popularity was boosted in the 1980s by championship duels between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov (both from the former USSR).’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But almost always, awards result in controversies and verbal duels.’
      • ‘For Mickelson, the next decade will bring a lot more excitement, majors and, we hope, head-to-head duels with Woods.’
      • ‘The President won a clear victory in the second encounter - the month-long duel of the political conventions.’
      • ‘In 1972 the two had fought out an epic duel for the Open championship at Muirfield.’
      • ‘The pairs contest was an exciting duel between China and Canada.’
      • ‘Falvelon's victory in the Sprint came after a testing duel in the final furlong with American challenger Morluc.’
      • ‘He turns aggressive and a verbal duel follows, shattering any semblance of peace that remains.’
      contest, competition, match, game, event, fixture, meet
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verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Fight a duel or duels:

    ‘shall we duel over this?’
    ‘duelling had been forbidden for serving officers’
    • ‘The battle raged on until the two brothers dueled and died together.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Colin and Miriam are dueling fiercely near the bar, their blades clashing against each other.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some writers on the sport describe fencing as ‘chess with muscles’, highlighting the careful strategies and mind games that go into duelling.’
    • ‘I feel like we are duelling with each other, in some kind of friendly competition.’
    • ‘Some versions even have Popper and Wittgenstein duelling with a pair of pokers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The second game was much more even with the pitchers duelling and well supported by good defensive work.’
    • ‘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 kite-strings were coated with ground glass, and people duelled with them, trying to cut other people's kite strings with their own.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In practice many monarchs tried to eliminate duelling, which was disruptive, particularly at court or in the armed forces.’
    • ‘Fencing was founded in the 1800s based on the three types of sword dueling.’
    • ‘They made it look easy, and I thought that maybe I could win the fight by dueling like they had.’
    • ‘So, after days spent duelling and fighting, I was able to go back and soak in warm mineral baths overlooking the magnificent Tuscan countryside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Boomtown Houston of the past was infamous for brawling and duelling.’
    • ‘He is the ring leader of the illegal street duelling.’
    fight a duel
    fight, clash, battle, combat, contend
    go out
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Origin

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.

Pronunciation

duel

/ˈdjuːəl/