duress

play
noun du·ress \du̇-ˈres also dyu̇-\

Definition of duress

law

  1. 1 :  forcible restraint or restriction while the German army was still held in duress by the Versailles treaty — S. L. A. Marshall

  2. 2 :  compulsion (see compulsion 1a) by threat gave the statement under duress; specifically :  unlawful constraint held under duress

duress was our Word of the Day on 09/01/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of duress in a sentence

  1. He gave the information under duress.

  2. 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 and Etymology of duress

Middle English duresse, from Anglo-French duresce hardness, severity, from Latin duritia, from durus —see during


First Known Use: 15th century


DURESS Defined for English Language Learners

duress

play
noun du·ress \du̇-ˈres also dyu̇-\

Definition of duress for English Language Learners

  • : force or threats meant to make someone do something


Law Dictionary

duress

play
noun du·ress \du̇-ˈres, dyu̇-\

Legal Definition of duress

  1. :  wrongful and usually unlawful compulsion (as threats of physical violence) that induces a person to act against his or her will :  coercion; also :  the affirmative defense of having acted under duress — see also economic duress — compare necessity, undue influence

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 and Etymology of duress

Anglo-French duresce, literally, hardness, harshness, from Old French, from Latin duritia, from durus hard



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