In this text:

Their escalating tensions took center stage on Sunday, with dueling campaign rallies in Florida just two days before voting concludes

from this NYT article

I'm having trouble interpreting: "with dueling campaign rallies" is it like:

"dueling" being an adjective describling "campaign rallies"?

like they are attacking each their through their campaing?? or competing who rallies more?

3 Answers 3


The meaning of "duelling" in that context really means "simultaneous". The writer chose "duelling" to make it sound more dramatic and oppositional, but it's possible both rallies had a very positive focus about their candidate rather than a negative focus on their opponent.

So, if the exact same two rallies had happened a day apart, "duelling" would have made no sense at all.

It's unfortunately normal that reporters use metaphors of violence and aggression to describe anything that happens during political campaigns, even about separate events that have nothing to do with each other. There wasn't necessarily any actual attacking happening at the rallies, and there's also no competition to have more rallies.

  • I didn't know duelling means simultaneous by definition Nov 7, 2022 at 14:53
  • 1
    @guerdoosinfu it doesn't. In this case there is no "duel" happening between the rallies, but the writer used the word anyways in order to give the mental image of some kind of fight because it sounds more dramatic.
    – Esther
    Nov 7, 2022 at 15:42
  • @Esther, so it's a verb in this context? I was reading it as an adjective describing: " campaign rallies" Nov 7, 2022 at 17:09
  • @guerdoosinfu (1) The word "duel" means a fight between two people. It's inherent that both participants fight at the same time, just like a race requires all racers to be running at the same time. If the rallies weren't happening at the same time, the writer wouldn't have used "duelling". (2) "Duelling" is the participial form of the verb, here acting as an adjective, so yes, it's a verb, and yes, it's an adjective.
    – gotube
    Nov 8, 2022 at 4:25

dueling means the two campaign rallies are fighting for the public's attention.

Duel means a combat between two people with witnesses. Usually men by the way since duels are no longer allowed. Men used to duel when they felt their honor had been impugned or had some other argument to settle.

So, this is a metaphor comparing the campaign rallies to two fighting men. The rallies are competing with each other for the attention of the public.

The "argument" here is about who will win the election via voting.

Duels were fought with swords or guns.

duel_Cambridge Dictionary


Yes, they were attacking each other with their campaigns, but the attacks were not physical.

Each side would say things that would, directly or indirectly, damage their opponents image for various attributes, such as honesty and credibility.

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