Definition of duality in English:


Line breaks: dual|ity
Pronunciation: /djuːˈalɪti

noun (plural dualities)

  • 1 [mass noun] The quality or condition of being dual: this duality of purpose was discernible in the appointments
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    • To fit in with this, the play is full of twins as a metaphor for human duality: we can be this or that, depending on our choices.
    • But our poem's horizon expanded far beyond this confined duality to embrace the universal, the human, as well as the intimate and personal.
    • All these nine characteristics have both weaknesses and strengths; out of duality of being, these unique natures can provide certain creative energies, motives, and world views.
  • 1.1 Mathematics The property of two theorems, expressions, etc., of being dual to each other.
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    • These two dualities reduce the number of distinct theories from five to three.
  • 1.2 Physics The quantum-mechanical property of being regardable as both a wave and a particle.
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    • I think a scientific parallel might be drawn from the uncertainty principle in quantum physics, or perhaps from photon wave/particle duality.
    • This was the beginning of the idea known as particle-wave duality, and the field of quantum mechanics.
    • Although not fully appreciated at the time, Einstein's work on the quantum nature of light was the first step towards establishing the wave-particle duality of quantum particles.
  • 2An instance of opposition or contrast between two concepts or two aspects of something; a dualism: his photographs capitalize on the dualities of light and dark, stillness and movement
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    • The entire movie is a collection of dualities, of opposites contrasting.
    • This is a film full of contradictions and dualities.
    • Neither entirely human nor artificial, but a combination of the two, the cyborg problematizes all dualities and oppositions.
    doubleness, dualism, duplexity, ambivalence; dichotomy, polarity, separation, opposition, difference


late Middle English: from late Latin dualitas, from dualis (see dual).

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