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

Definition of duke

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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 3)

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


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

Definition of Duke (Entry 3 of 3)

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

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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 His character arc is mostly wrapped up and the duke doesn’t appear in the rest of the novels. Devon Ivie, Vulture, "John Oliver Isn’t Worried About the Hot Duke Pulling Out of Bridgerton," 5 Apr. 2021 Earlier this month, during an interview with Oprah Winfrey for CBS, Markle claimed that she and the duke were married by the Archbishop of Canterbury three days before the ceremony. Jeremy Beaman, Washington Examiner, "'The legal wedding was on the Saturday': Archbishop who married Prince Harry and Meghan Markle denies early nuptials," 31 Mar. 2021 Even for those who were already skeptical of the institution's treatment of the duke and duchess, these revelations are shocking. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex gets her voice back," 8 Mar. 2021 The duke and duchess declined to comment to USA TODAY on the filing. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Prince Harry, Duchess Meghan's lawsuits send paparazzi agency Splash into bankruptcy court," 25 Mar. 2021 At the time, a palace source revealed to BAZAAR that the duke's hospitalization was not an emergency admission, with Philip reportedly walking into King Edward VII's Hospital independently. Harper's Bazaar Staff, Harper's BAZAAR, "Prince Philip Has Been Discharged from the Hospital and "Is in Good Spirits"," 16 Mar. 2021 The duke was first hospitalized on Feb. 16 for treatment for an infection. Washington Post, "99-year-old Prince Philip leaves hospital after month-long stay," 16 Mar. 2021 The duke’s father, Prince Charles, no longer took his calls. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Where Does the Monarchy Go From Here?," 16 Mar. 2021 Like other members of the royal families, the duke lends his support to various charitable foundations and architectural associations. Max Colchester, WSJ, "Meghan Markle, Prince Harry’s Exit From ‘Royal Firm’ Shows Difficulty in Pruning Monarchy," 10 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Stanford and South Carolina will duke it out for the other national championship game spot in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader. Lori Riley, courant.com, "Final Four roundtable: Can the UConn women’s basketball team win it all? Who may thwart their championship dreams?," 1 Apr. 2021 All three duke it out in a Hong Kong climax that looks, for all its digital wizardry, like a World Wrestling Entertainment show. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ Review: A Mental Mush of a Monster Mash," 1 Apr. 2021 March Madness is the pinnacle of college basketball, where 64 teams -- full of the next generation of WNBA and NBA players -- duke it out in a single-elimination tournament over two weeks to crown the best team. Matias Grez And Jill Martin, CNN, "Two Black women will be head coaches in the same NCAA women's Final Four for the first time," 31 Mar. 2021 The two state legislators will duke it out again on April 24. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, "Caveats keep Biden border policies muddled: The Note," 22 Mar. 2021 The two movies will also duke out for best SAG cast later this month. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, "From 'Nomadland' to Jodie Foster's upset, what those Golden Globes wins mean for Oscars," 1 Mar. 2021 Texas Longhorns Casey Thompson and Hudson Card will duke it out for the starting job this offseason. Dallas News, "Position outlooks: What to expect from Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU and UNT in 2021," 25 Feb. 2021 Freshman Hudson Card and redshirt junior Casey Thompson are expected to duke it out for the starting role and will most likely compete head-to-head in the Orange-White game. Dallas News, "Texas football announces spring practice schedule, sets date for Orange-White game," 10 Mar. 2021 On the other side of the bracket, Seton Hall and Marquette appear most likely to duke it out for a spot in the Big East tournament championship game on Monday (8 p.m. ET, FS1). Alexa Philippou, courant.com, "Five questions as the UConn women head into the Big East women’s basketball tournament," 2 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for duke

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for duke

Last Updated

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Duke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/duke. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for duke



English Language Learners Definition of duke

: a man of very high rank in the British nobility
: the ruler of an independent area of land especially in some parts of Europe in the past
US slang, old-fashioned : fists or hands


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

Kids Definition of duke

: a man of the highest rank of the British nobility

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Comments on duke

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