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[dook, dyook] /duk, dyuk/
(in Continental Europe) the male ruler of a duchy; the sovereign of a small state.
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.
a nobleman of corresponding rank in certain other countries.
a cultivated hybrid of the sweet and sour cherry.
dukes, Slang. fists; hands:
Put up your dukes.
verb (used with object), duked, duking.
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.
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.


[dook, dyook] /duk, dyuk/
Benjamin Newton, 1855–1929, and his brother, James Buchanan, 1856–1925, U.S. industrialists.
a male given name. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for dukes


plural noun
(slang) the fists (esp in the phrase put your dukes up)
Word Origin
C19: from Duke of Yorks rhyming slang for forks (fingers)


a nobleman of high rank: in the British Isles standing above the other grades of the nobility
the prince or ruler of a small principality or duchy
adjective ducal
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for dukes

"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."



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
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Slang definitions & phrases for dukes



The fists or hands: I imagine you can handle your dukes, Jim

[1859+; said to be Cockney rhyming slang fr Duke of Yorks, ''forks, hands'']



  1. A hand, esp when regarded as a weapon (1874+)
  2. The winning decision in a boxing match, signaled by the referee's holding up the victor's hand: Even if I lose the duke I get forty percent (1930s+ Prizefight)


  1. To hand something to someone: Duke the kid a five or ten (1940s+)
  2. To fight with the fists (1940s+)
  3. To try to collect money from a parent for something given to a child (1940s+ Circus)
  4. To short-change someone by palming a coin owed him (1940s+ Circus)
  5. To shake hands; press the flesh (1965+)
  6. To do the sex act with or to; boff, screw: She might even have duked one of the Hobart Street Fros sometime (1990s+ Street gang)

Related Terms


[perhaps fr Romany dook, ''the hand as read in palmistry, one's fate'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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dukes in the Bible

derived from the Latin dux, meaning "a leader;" Arabic, "a sheik." This word is used to denote the phylarch or chief of a tribe (Gen. 36:15-43; Ex. 15:15; 1 Chr. 1:51-54).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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