The Romance of Language: Word for the Week 1/27/17



“A duel.” from Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary of the English Language, 1755.



Even though I’ve written about duels  in my romance novels Only Scandal Will Do and the upcoming Only A Mistress Will Do, I had not come across this term for single combat. It is apparently from the Latin “monomachia,” taken from the Greek “monomakhia” (mono=single and makhia=fighting).

duelAlthough in my books duels are usually fought with swords, by this time duels could just as well occur using dueling pistols. In fact, next year’s Only Seduction Will Do will have a duel with pistols.

As I am a big fan of Hamilton The Musical, I

Hamilton-Burr duel

Hamilton-Burr duel

should feel remiss not mentioning that famous duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr was fought with pistols. And the American forefather seemed to be spoiling for “monomachies,” because in addition to this famous duel, Hamilton himself received/issued almost a dozen challenges to duel and his son, Philip, was killed in a duel.


And here is the song from Hamilton: “The Ten Duel Commandments”:







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4 Responses to The Romance of Language: Word for the Week 1/27/17

  1. barbarabettis1 says:

    I’d never heard that word, Jenna. It’s a good one! Duels at romantic in stories, but not so much in real life! Enjoyed the post. I’m a fan of Hamilton, too.


  2. Reblogged this on Raisin' the Signal Flag and commented:
    Love books with duels!


  3. Melissa Keir says:

    While Duels were romantic… I would so worry that my poor hubby would be injured…It’s not like medicine was great then… Tweeted!


  4. Daryl Devore says:

    Duels – romantic but scary. Interesting post- I’m a little bit smarter now. Tweeted.


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