[doo-uh l, dyoo-]
See more synonyms for duel on Thesaurus.com
  1. a prearranged combat between two persons, fought with deadly weapons according to an accepted code of procedure, especially to settle a private quarrel.
  2. any contest between two persons or parties.
verb (used with or without object), du·eled, du·el·ing or (especially British) du·elled, du·el·ling.
  1. 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 formsdu·el·is·tic; especially British, du·el·lis·tic, adjectiveout·du·el, verb (used with object), out·du·eled, out·du·el·ing or (especially British) out·du·elled, out·du·el·ling.
Can be confuseddual duel
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for duelling

Historical Examples of duelling

  • 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.

  • 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

British Dictionary definitions for duelling


  1. 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
  2. a contest or conflict between two persons or parties
verb duels, duelling or duelled or US duels, dueling or dueled (intr)
  1. to fight in a duel
  2. to contest closely
Derived Formsdueller or duellist, noun

Word Origin for duel

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

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