duke

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duke. The title of duke, derived from the latin ‘dux’, is the highest in the peerage and until 1448 was restricted to members of the royal family. In that year, Henry VI created William de la Pole, who had fought in France on many campaigns, duke of Suffolk: he enjoyed the title for less than two years, being murdered in a boat off Dover. Subsequent monarchs were sparing of the title and there were no English non-royal dukes in existence between 1572 and the grant by Charles I to his favourite the duke of Buckingham in 1623. After the Glorious Revolution, the Whig grandees were promoted to dukedoms in quick succession—Bolton, Shrewsbury, Leeds, Bedford, Devonshire, and Newcastle. George II and III resumed the policy of restraint. Notable 19th-cent. creations included Wellington (1814), Sutherland (1833), and Westminster (1874). The first non-royal Scottish dukedom was Montrose (1488) and the first Irish, Ormond (1661). Along with marquises and earls, dukes are entitled to strawberry leaves on their coronets. The eldest son usually takes the next title and younger sons and daughters are known as Lord Roger or Lady Jane, with the family surname.

J. A. Cannon

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duke / d(y)oōk/ • n. 1. a male holding the highest hereditary title in the British and certain other peerages. ∎ chiefly hist. (in some parts of Europe) a male ruler of a small independent state. 2. (dukes) inf. the fists, esp. when raised in a fighting attitude. PHRASES: duke it out inf. fight it out.

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duke sovereign prince, ruler of a duchy XII; †leader, captain, ruler XIII; hereditary title of nobility XIV. — (O)F. duc — L. dux, duc- leader, rel. to dūcere lead (see TEAM).

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