The king announced that the duel had a dual purpose. It would not only determine the braver man between the two fighters but it would also show us who deserved to inherit the throne.

The two words ‘dual’ and ‘duel’ can be very confusing because they sound completely alike. When two words such as these have completely same pronunciations but distinct meanings, they are called homophones. Dual is an adjective which means comprising of two parts and duel is a noun which denotes a contest or a fight. Dual can also be used in its verb form and means to engage in a fight. If you find these words tricky then read this article to learn how their meanings and usages work. We’ve also shared a simple hack to memorize these terms at the end of the article.

Dual vs duel – definitions, uses and examples

Definition of dual

Dual is an adjective that describes anything that comprises of two parts which are often complementary to each other. Dual was used as early as the 1600s and is believed to have evolved from the word ‘dualis’ which has its own core in the word ‘duo.’ The literal meaning of duo is double. You can go through the sentences given below to understand how this term is used in everyday life.

Example sentences of dual

  • ‘Even though she belongs to Turkey she immigrated to USA while she was still young and so she retains dual citizenship,’ explained the lawyer.

This sentence shows how a lawyer used dual in his sentence to denote a woman who had citizenship of two countries.

  • Most CPUs or laptops have dual core processors today. This means that the device has two processors that work at the same time in the same integrated circuit but produce the result twice as quickly when compared to a single processor.

If you shop for computer accessories online then this is another common example that you might encounter while reading specifications for a gadget. If a device has two core processors it is termed as having dual core processors.

  • The current Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan is renowned for dual reasons. Before becoming the 22nd Prime Minister of Pakistan, he was an international cricket player and Pakistan won the 1992 Cricket World Cup under his leadership as captain.

This sentence shows that the current Prime Minister of Pakistan is famous for two (dual) reasons. Before he entered politics as leader of PTI, he was an international cricketer and was captain of the Pakistan national cricket team when it emerged victorious in the 1992 World Cup.

Definition of duel

Duel is a noun and refers to a fight or contest between two entities. These fights may or may not be violent. Traditionally, these fights were matches to the death that involved sturdy men clashing with elongated swords. Today, however, a duel can occur in a gaming app, between differing political ideas or anywhere without bloodshed. Duel can also be used as a verb and has the same meaning, clashing or fighting. The term duel is believed to have originated from the two cores ‘bellum’ and ‘duellum’ that are related to bloodshed and war. You can go through the following sentence examples to fully grasp its meaning.

Example Sentences of duel

  • As noun:
    ‘He was fatally injured during his last duel with the duke and so he could not make it,’ the slave reported with considerate eyes.

The slave in this sentence is relaying the bad news of someone dying because they encountered fatal wounds during their battle (duel) with the duke.

  • As verb:
    Do not duel with strangers over small amounts of money. I’ve trained you for the biggest swordfight of the village so focus all your strength on winning the cart filled with gold,’ the trainer advised his subordinate.

This sentence narrates a piece from an old-fashioned story, from a time when traditional swordfights were still common. The clever trainer is advising his pupil to stay away from fights that pay too little and focus on the leading contest which would pay the best price and provide a permanent means of living for them.

  • As noun:
    The show Fear Factor features the most extreme duels ever; some of these challenges include drowning contestants in a sea of snakes, plunging their faces in glass containers filled with poisonous tarantulas and asking them to race between man-eating crocs.

This sentence describes the correct meaning of extreme duels. World renowned show Fear Factor gives the most dangerous challenges to its participants. Only a handful of them have been described here and if you’re curious to learn more, you can watch them on YouTube.


The words dual and duel might sound alike during a conversation, but since they have distinct meanings, it is necessary to commit them to memory to make sure your writing and conversation remain error free. If you observe the words dual and duel closely, you will notice that the only difference in their spelling is the letter ‘a’ and ‘e.’ The word ‘dual’ has an ‘a.’ Associate this ‘a’ with ‘amount’ and remember that dual is an amount; double to be exact. On the contrary, duel has an ‘e’ which can be associated with ‘enmity.’ Remember that a duel breeds enmity because it is a fight.