\ ˈdük How to pronounce duke (audio) also ˈdyük \

Definition of duke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a sovereign male ruler of a continental European duchy
2 : a nobleman of the highest hereditary rank especially : a member of the highest grade of the British peerage
3 [probably from dukes of York, rhyming slang for fork (hand, fist)] slang : fist, hand usually used in plural


duked; duking

Definition of duke (Entry 2 of 2)

duke it out
: to engage in a fight and especially a fistfight

Other Words from duke


dukedom \ ˈdük-​dəm How to pronounce duke (audio) also  ˈdyük-​ \ noun

Examples of duke in a Sentence

Noun Put up your dukes and fight, you coward!
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even as things fall apart, when the romantic hero who’s been wooing sweet, oblivious Giselle turns out to be a two-timing duke in disguise, there’s little disruption in the gentle quality of this production. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 The duke has until the extended date of October 29 to file and serve a response. Kristina Sgueglia, CNN, 25 Sep. 2021 On Thursday’s opening night, both Eun Won Lee as Giselle and Gian Carlo Perez as Albrecht, the dishonest duke, shared a soft quality, as if moving through water. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 If the duke's raised arms are anything to go by, his little driver was victorious. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 16 Apr. 2022 Louis de Bourbon, duke of Anjou, has the type of spicily partisan Twitter presence more usually associated with Substack writers. Helen Lewis, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2022 Many of the duke's immediate British family attended alongside his extended family, dozens of foreign royals, hundreds of friends and representatives of his numerous charities and patronages. Amy Haneline, USA TODAY, 9 Apr. 2022 Prince Harry, the redheaded duke of Sussex, was spotted in a cowboy hat at the Fort Worth stockyards Saturday alongside bull riders and trainers. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 8 Mar. 2022 The duke hopped into one of the vehicles to help the driver with the course while Markle—who wore jeans, a white shirt, and a chic black jacket—cheered them on. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 16 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb However, Phoenix is more than happy to step into the ring to duke it out over which metro area has the best Mexican food. Kaely Monahan, The Arizona Republic, 11 Apr. 2022 While Prater and Bryant duke it out on the field, Ridder has had fun watching the show from the sideline. Keith Jenkins, The Enquirer, 30 Mar. 2022 Producers behind the year’s best in film and television will duke it out for the top guild honor, the last stop of the season before next Sunday’s Academy Awards. Matt Donnelly, Variety, 19 Mar. 2022 Democratic challengers duke it out Former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley and running mate, state Sen. Teresa Fedor, reported raising nearly $1.05 million between July 2021 and the end of January. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, 31 Jan. 2022 And the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will duke it out in Buffalo on Saturday. Chris Morris, Fortune, 15 Jan. 2022 For instance, the scene where Leatherface and Jacob Latimore’s character, Dante, duke it out was lit from above, motivated by the fluorescent lights in the space. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 25 Feb. 2022 Apple would rather watch Samsung and other rivals duke it out with half-baked devices than enter the fray now. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 10 Jan. 2022 The battle for the Iron Throne begins as Halo, Lord of the Rings and House of the Dragon duke it out to be the next broad-skewing genre hit with audiences and awards voters. Lesley Goldberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 31 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'duke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of duke


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1947, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for duke


Middle English, from Anglo-French duc, from Latin duc-, dux, from ducere to lead — more at tow entry 1

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The first known use of duke was in the 12th century

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Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Duke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duke. Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for duke


\ ˈdük How to pronounce duke (audio) , ˈdyük \

Kids Definition of duke

: a man of the highest rank of the British nobility

Duke biographical name

\ ˈdük How to pronounce Duke (audio) , ˈdyük \

Definition of Duke

Benjamin Newton 1855–1929 and his brother James Buchanan 1856–1925 American tobacco industrialists


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