noun \ˈdü-əl also ˈdyü-\

: a fight between two people that includes the use of weapons (such as guns or swords) and that usually happens while other people watch

: a situation in which two people or groups argue or compete with each other

Full Definition of DUEL

:  a combat between two persons; specifically :  a formal combat with weapons fought between two persons in the presence of witnesses
:  a conflict between antagonistic persons, ideas, or forces; also :  a hard-fought contest between two opponents

Examples of DUEL

  1. They engaged in a duel of wits.
  2. <a duel for the title of captain of the team>

Origin of DUEL

Middle English, from Medieval Latin duellum, from Old Latin, war
First Known Use: 15th century



: to fight with someone using weapons (such as guns or swords) while other people watch

: to compete or argue with someone

du·eled or du·elleddu·el·ing or du·el·ling

Full Definition of DUEL

intransitive verb
:  to fight a duel
transitive verb
:  to encounter (an opponent) in a duel
du·el·er or du·el·ler noun
du·el·ist or du·el·list \ˈdü-ə-list\ noun

Examples of DUEL

  1. He accepted the challenge to duel.
  2. Legislators dueled over the tax increases.
  3. The two runners dueled for the lead.

First Known Use of DUEL

circa 1645

Rhymes with DUEL


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Formal combat with weapons fought between two persons in the presence of witnesses. Intended to settle a quarrel or point of honour, it represented an alternative to the usual process of justice. The judicial duel, or trial by battle, is reported in ancient sources and was prevalent in medieval Europe. A judge could order two parties to meet in a duel to settle a matter. It was believed that through such an appeal to the “judgment of God” the righteous would emerge victorious; the loser, if still alive, was dealt with according to the law. Duels of honour were private encounters over real or imagined slights or insults. Eventually fought with pistols, duels were frequent in France and Germany in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and they were legal or encouraged by the fascist regimes in Italy and Germany. By the late 20th century they were prohibited; the last duel recorded in France occurred in 1967. The most famous duel in the U.S. was that between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr (1804). See also ordeal.


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