- (in Continental Europe) the male ruler of a duchy; the sovereign of a small state.
- a British nobleman holding the highest hereditary title outside the royal family, ranking immediately below a prince and above a marquis; a member of the highest rank of the British peerage.
- a nobleman of corresponding rank in certain other countries.
- a cultivated hybrid of the sweet and sour cherry.
- dukes, Slang. fists; hands: Put up your dukes.
- Slang. to hit or thrash with the fists (sometimes followed by out): He duked me because he said I had insulted him. The bully said he was going to duke out anyone who disagreed.
- duke it out, to fight, especially with the fists; do battle: The adversaries were prepared to duke it out in the alley.
Origin of duke
- a nobleman of high rank: in the British Isles standing above the other grades of the nobility
- the prince or ruler of a small principality or duchy
Word Origin for duke
early 12c., "sovereign prince," from Old French duc (12c.) and directly from Latin dux (genitive ducis) "leader, commander," in Late Latin "governor of a province," from ducere "to lead," from PIE *deuk- "to lead" (cf. Old English togian "to pull, drag," Old High German ziohan "to pull," Old English togian "to draw, drag," Middle Welsh dygaf "I draw").
Applied in English to "nobleman of the highest rank" probably first mid-14c., ousting native earl. Also used to translate various European titles (e.g. Russian knyaz).