Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Dual or Duel?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between dual and duel?

Dual means duo or double.
  • He has dual standards.
Duel denotes a combat arranged by two people or groups.
  • I challenge you to a duel.

Dual and Duel

The words dual and duel sound quite similar, but their meanings are very different.

Dual

The adjective dual means double or composed of two parts.

Examples:
  • After I marry, I will retain dual nationality.
  • I live a dual life. On the red carpet, it's complete glam. But at home, I'm a jeans and T-shirt kind of girl. (Ashley Greene)

Duel

The noun duel is a prearranged combat between two people or groups. The word duel can also be used as a verb.

Examples:
  • Her father was injured in a duel.
  • They will duel at sundown.
  • (This is an example of duel being used as a verb)
You will also see duel being used figuratively. For example:
  • The study of beauty is a duel in which the artist cries with terror before being defeated. (Charles Baudelaire)
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