duke

[dook, dyook]
noun
  1. (in Continental Europe) the male ruler of a duchy; the sovereign of a small state.
  2. 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.
  3. a nobleman of corresponding rank in certain other countries.
  4. a cultivated hybrid of the sweet and sour cherry.
  5. dukes, Slang. fists; hands: Put up your dukes.
verb (used with object), duked, duk·ing.
  1. 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.
Idioms
  1. 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

1100–50; Middle English duke, duc, late Old English duc < Old French duc, dus, dux < Medieval Latin dux hereditary ruler of a small state, Latin: leader; see dux; dukes “fists” of unclear derivation and perhaps of distinct orig.

Duke

[dook, dyook]
noun
  1. Benjamin Newton,1855–1929, and his brother, James Buchanan, 1856–1925, U.S. industrialists.
  2. a male given name.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for dukes

Contemporary Examples of dukes

Historical Examples of dukes

  • Why, you'd be Lady Casselthorpe, with dukes and counts takin' off their crowns to you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • The proprietors of the show may be dukes, and earls, and marquisses, and so forth.

  • It's the Egypt lot I worry about: girls out for dukes, and dukes out for dollars.

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • Let Monmouth get the law changed, and it will do more for him than all the dukes in England.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The dukes of Coburg and Hildburghausen were miserable bankrupts.

    Blood and Iron

    John Hubert Greusel


British Dictionary definitions for dukes

dukes

pl n
  1. slang the fists (esp in the phrase put your dukes up)

Word Origin for dukes

C19: from Duke of Yorks rhyming slang for forks (fingers)

duke

noun
  1. a nobleman of high rank: in the British Isles standing above the other grades of the nobility
  2. the prince or ruler of a small principality or duchy
Related formsRelated adjective: ducal

Word Origin for duke

C12: from Old French duc, from Latin dux leader
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 dukes
n.

"hands," 1874, now mainly in put up your dukes (phrase from 1859), probably not connected to duke (n.). Chapman ["Dictionary of American Slang"] suggests Romany dook "the hand as read in palmistry, one's fate;" but Partridge ["Slang To-day and Yesterday"] gives it a plausible, if elaborate, etymology as a contraction of Duke of Yorks, rhyming slang for forks, a Cockney term for "fingers," thus "hands."

duke

n.

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).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper