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[doo-uh l, dyoo-] /ˈdu əl, ˈdyu-/
a prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure, especially to settle a private quarrel.
any contest between two persons or parties.
verb (used with or without object), dueled, dueling or (especially British) duelled, duelling.
to fight in a duel.
Origin of duel
1585-95; earlier duell < Medieval Latin duellum, Latin: earlier form of bellum war, probably maintained and given sense “duel” by association with Latin duo two
Related forms
duelistic; especially British, duellistic, adjective
outduel, verb (used with object), outdueled, outdueling or (especially British) outduelled, outduelling.
Can be confused
dual, duel. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for duelling
Historical Examples
  • You have lived so long abroad that duelling seems a natural and proper thing.

    In the Valley Harold Frederic
  • I had often heard of Mr. Fitzgerald's propensity to duelling.

  • "Your Majesty's ordinance as to duelling is receiving our best attention," he assured me.

    The Prisoner of Zenda Anthony Hope
  • Something really transcendent in the way of duelling was expected.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • Something really transcendental in the way of duelling was expected.

    The Point Of Honor Joseph Conrad
  • I turned away with a new impression of the pastime of duelling.

    The O'Ruddy Stephen Crane
  • Books on Archery, Fencing, and duelling are also comprised by this heading.

    The Book-Hunter at Home P. B. M. Allan
  • Yet he was afraid that Archdale was too much of a Puritan to think of duelling.

  • duelling is our high art; getting out of the Union is our low.

    An Outcast F. Colburn Adams
  • He had proved that he was a man of parts by duelling with two Russian officers on a single day.

    Lost Face Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for duelling


a prearranged combat with deadly weapons between two people following a formal procedure in the presence of seconds and traditionally fought until one party was wounded or killed, usually to settle a quarrel involving a point of honour
a contest or conflict between two persons or parties
verb (intransitive) duels, duelling, duelled (US) duels, dueling, dueled
to fight in a duel
to contest closely
Derived Forms
dueller, duellist, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin duellum, from Latin, poetical variant of bellum war; associated by folk etymology with Latin duo two
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for duelling



1590s (from late 13c. in Latin form), from Medieval Latin duellum "combat between two persons," by association with Latin duo "two," but originally from Latin duellum "war," an Old Latin form of bellum (see bellicose). Retained in poetic and archaic language and apparently given a special meaning in Medieval or Late Latin of "one-on-one combat" on fancied connection with duo "two."



1640s, see duel (n.). Related: Dueled; dueling; duelling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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