Simple Definition of duress
: force or threats meant to make someone do something
Full Definition of duress
1 : forcible restraint or restriction
2 : compulsion by threat; specifically : unlawful constraint
Examples of duress in a sentence
He gave the information under duress.
<complied with the order only under duress>
Did You Know?
Duress is a word of hardy stock. It has been a part of the English language since the 14th century, and has a number of long-lived relatives. "Duress" itself came into Middle English through the Anglo-French duresce (meaning "hardness" or "severity"), which stems from Latin durus, meaning "hard." Some obvious relatives of this robust root are "durable," "endure" and "obdurate" (meaning "unyielding" or "hardened in feelings"). Some others are "dour" (meaning "harsh," "unyielding," or "gloomy") and "during."
Origin of duress
Middle English duresse, from Anglo-French duresce hardness, severity, from Latin duritia, from durus
First Known Use: 15th century
Rhymes with duress
abscess, access, address, aggress, assess, bench-press, caress, clothespress, coatdress, cold-press, compress, confess, cross-dress, CS, depress, de-stress, digress, distress, drill press, egress, excess, express, finesse, fluoresce, French press, full-dress, handpress, headdress, housedress, idlesse, impress, ingress, Meknes, much less, nightdress, noblesse, no less, obsess, oppress, outguess, possess, precess, prestress, princess, process, profess, progress, recess, redress, regress, re-press, repress, shirtdress, side-dress, SS, success, sundress, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, undress, unless, web press, winepress, word stress
Legal Definition of duress
Additional Notes on duress
A person may be able to avoid the consequences of his or her acts under the law if they were performed while under duress. For example, a contract made under duress is voidable by the coerced party. Similarly, a will signed under duress is invalid. Duress may also be used to justify a criminal act.
Origin of duress
Anglo-French duresce, literally, hardness, harshness, from Old French, from Latin duritia, from durus hard
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