Difference Between Dual and Duel

Homophones are the most impressive part of English Grammar. These are also referred to as Confusing Words as we spell them/ pronounce them in the same way, but they have different meanings and uses.

One such example is the word Dual and Duel. Knowing the difference between them will improve the vocabulary related to English Grammar. 

Dual vs Duel 

The main difference between Dual and Duel is that dual is a word that means in a pair, or anything that is composed of two parts, for instance, Dual Personalities. On the other hand, a duel is a word that means combat with an equal number of weapons between equally sturdy people. 

Dual vs Duel

Dual is a word that falls under the group of both a noun and an adjective. As a noun, it means anything in a pair, like dual numbers, dual citizenship, etc., whereas as an adjective, it can mean anything specifically composed of two parts.

For instance, she pursued a dual career in biotechnology and microbiology. 

Duel is a word that falls under the category of both nouns and as a verb. As a noun, it is a combat between two powerful people usually using swords.

As a verb, it can mean to indulge in a duel. They included the word duel (originated in the 1600s) in the plays of Shakespeare. 

Comparison Table Between Dual and Duel 

Parameters of Comparison  Dual  Duel  
Type  Noun and Adjective  Noun and Verb  
Definition  In a pair, or composed of two parts  Combat between two healthy people using weapons or indulging in a fight.  
Originated/ Came into use  16th Century  14th Century  
Example  Dual Personalities, Dual Numbers, etc.  Political Duel/Debate, Sword Duel, etc.  
In Sentences  He achieved success by pursuing dual careers in banking and accountancy.  He engaged in a duel to protect the honor of his mother.  

What is Dual?

As mentioned above, dual is a word that is included in the category of both a noun and an adjective. Although, we frequently use it as an adjective more than a noun.

It simply means something in a pair, like dual numbers. Thus, if a person shows multiple personalities, in medical terms it is called a Dual Personality. 

The word dual originated in the 16th century. It comes from the Latin word Dualis, which means two. It can refer to anything in pair like Dual Masters would denote that you have a Master’s degree in two prime subjects. 

Similarly, Dual Purpose would mean that someone has two goals to pursue, for instance, ‘She carries dual purpose to gain fame and defame others. If somebody shows bitter and sweet behavior according to the situation, we term them to have Dual Personality. 

Likewise, while pursuing a career in airlines, they teach aspiring pilots to operate an aircraft with dual controls. They specifically train the first officers for this. 

We use the word dual in Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). In Mathematics, it is used to explain Dual Theorems, I.e., the theorems that can be interchanged as the result is the same.

In AI, it is used in Machine Learning and is called Dual Learning. The word dual can mean several things, such as Dual Ownership: two owners/ partners of a particular area, Dual Toothbrush- an electronic toothbrush with two-way technology, and several other examples. 

What is Duel?

Aforementioned, duel is a word that is included in the classification of a noun and a verb, and we define it as combat or a fight between two groups or individuals. As a noun, it could describe the fight, and as a verb, it would mean to indulge in the combat. 

The word duel originated from the Latin word Duellem, which means a war between two individuals. The first duel between two individuals dates back to the 14th century and gained popularity in the 15th century.

This popularity became the sole reason for Duels to be included in the plays and movies to date. Initially, Duels were fought with swords. Later on, guns, pistols, and various other weapons were included in the list.

In the 17-18th Century, Duels were only fought between the men, but later on, women could practice sword combat and thus were included in Duels. 

They fought a duel not to demean someone; it was based on a moral code between two equally talented professionals. Often Duels were challenged between two individuals over a land issue, or to reclaim the honor.

But with increasing literacy and intellectuality, they banned Duels to decrease the conflicts with closely bonded members. 

Currently, Duels could mean anything but a sword fight. Duels range from Political Duels- which are debates between two equally skilled politicians in opposite parties. We can also include debates between team members or leaders in a company under Duels. 

Main Differences Between Dual and Duel 

  1. The word dual shows something in a pair, while duel denotes combat or a fight. 
  2. The word dual is a noun and an adjective, whereas duel is a noun and a verb. 
  3. The word dual could also mean two things with the same origin- Dual Citizenship/ Ownership, while the word duel could also mean friendly banter- a duel between friends for a slice of pizza. 
  4. Examples of the word dual include- Dual Numbers, Dual Theorems, Dual Nature, etc., while examples of the word duel include- Political duel, Friendly duel, a duel for Honor, etc. 
  5. In sentences we use dual as, ‘The monk has a dual nature of being friendly and strict’, while in sentences we use the word duel as ‘She engaged in a friendly duel to win the piece of mango. 
Difference Between Dual and Duel


From the above points, it is evident that although we pronounce the words dual and duel, in the same manner, the definitions of these words are poles apart.

We can never use them in place of each other. Dual means two of something, while duel practically means a fight. Thus, interchanging them would change the meaning of the sentence entirely. 

The English language has many homophones. We can get confused while using them. But it is important to remember them, especially while speaking, as the pronunciation is the same.

We use dual while justifying a personality or nature of someone, while we can use duel even while describing a friendly banter. Both words are used highly in daily conversations. Knowing the meaning and usage would have cleared the confusion. 


  1. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/1927-02407-001 
  2. https://books.google.com/bookshl=en&lr=&id=3f40EAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PP1&dq=duel&ots=pvqn1PnEeL&sig=wRwsHzmK8y231mjANvfuD-f6ntc 
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