A duel is a fight between two people, usually using swords or other weapons. If you tend to be a little cowardly, you're probably glad that people aren't expected to defend their honor with a duel these days.

The classic definition of a duel is the kind that happens all the time in Shakespeare plays: two men clanking swords together in a battle to the death over some issue of honor or betrayal. Today, the word duel can be used to talk about any kind of contest or struggle — like a duel between political candidates. The word duel can be traced back to both duo, Latin for "two," and also duellum, which means "war."

Definitions of duel

n a prearranged fight with deadly weapons by two people (accompanied by seconds) in order to settle a quarrel over a point of honor

affaire d'honneur
Type of:
combat, fight, fighting, scrap
the act of fighting; any contest or struggle

n any struggle between two skillful opponents (individuals or groups)

Type of:
battle, struggle
an energetic attempt to achieve something

v fight a duel, as over one's honor or a woman

“In the 19th century, men often dueled over small matters”
Type of:
contend, fight, struggle
be engaged in a fight; carry on a fight

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