Webster 1913 Edition



A composition for two performers, whether vocal or instrumental.

Webster 1828 Edition



A song or air in two parts.

Definition 2024



See also: düet



duet (plural duets)

  1. (music) A musical composition in two parts, each performed by a single voice (singer, instrument or univoce ensemble).
  2. (music) A song composed for and/or performed by a duo.
  3. A pair or couple, especially one that is harmonious or elegant.
    • 2005, James Henderson, Caribbean and the Bahamas
      The fare is Caribbean with an Asian touch millefeuille of sun-dried tomato, Paris mushrooms and chargrilled local asparagus followed by a duet of chicken and shrimp...


Related terms


duet (third-person singular simple present duets, present participle dueting, simple past and past participle dueted)

  1. (intransitive) To perform a duet.
    • 1822, Lord Byron, Letter to Mr. Moore, Pisa, July 12, 1822, in The Letters of George Gordon Byron, edited by Mathilde Blind, London: Walter Scott, 1887, p. 277,
      When you can spare time from duetting, coquetting, and claretting with your Hibernians of both sexes, let me have a line from you.
    • 1879, George Meredith, The Egoist, Chapter 20,
      He was about as accordantly coupled with Dr. Middleton in discourse as a drum duetting with a bass-viol []
    • 2011, Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending, Random House Canada, p. 45,
      ‘Ti-yi-yi-yime is on my side, yes it is,’ I used to yodel, duetting with Mick Jagger as I gyrated alone in my student room.
  2. (intransitive, zoology, of pairs of animals) To communicate (warnings, mating calls, etc.) through song.
    • 1975, Edward O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis, Belknap Press, p. 223,
      Duetting species are typically monogamous.
    • 1986, Thomas A. Sebeok, I Think I Am a Verb: More Contributions to the Doctrine of Signs, New York: Springer Science+Business, 2013, Chapter 7, p. 87,
      In several dozen species of birds there has been found a phenomenon known as duetting, or antiphonal singing: the first part of a song is executed by one partner of a pair, then the other partner very promptly chimes in to sing the second part.
  3. (transitive) To perform (sing, play, etc.) as a duet.
    • 1939, James Joyce, Finnegans Wake, Oxford University Press, 2012, p. 377,
      Peena and Queena are duetting a giggle-for-giggle []
    • 1941, Emily Carr, Klee Wyck, Chapter 1,
      After the Lord's Prayer the Missionaries duetted a hymn while the children stared at me.
  4. (transitive) (of two people) To say at the same time, to chorus.
    • 1864, Charles Whitehead, “The Stock-Broker” in Heads of the People: or, Portraits of the English, Volume I, London: Henry G. Bohn, p. 23,
      “My dear papa!” duetted the girls; but there was something in the husband and father's face, that told the three ladies it would be worse than useless to raise that question at present.
    • 1884, Anonymous, A Speculation, Denver: D. M. Richards, Chapter 12, p. 50,
      “A bear!” exclaimed the Major, jumping up and coming forward.
      “A bear!” dueted the Doctor and Right Rev., pressing hastily to the front.

Usage notes

  • In the UK and other Commonwealth countries, the present and past participles of this verb are often spelled with a double T: duetted and duetting

See also




  • IPA(key): /dyˈwɛt/


duet n (plural duetten, diminutive duetje n)

  1. A duet
  2. A musical duo