re·​course | \ˈrē-ˌkȯrs, ri-ˈkȯrs\

Definition of recourse 

1a : a turning to someone or something for help or protection settled the matter without recourse to law

b : a source of help or strength : resort had no recourse left

2 : the right to demand payment from the maker or endorser of a negotiable instrument (such as a check)

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Synonyms for recourse


expedient, resort, resource

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Examples of recourse in a Sentence

The dispute was settled without recourse to law. a toddler quickly learns that a tantrum is a surefire recourse when a polite request for something is met with parental indifference

Recent Examples on the Web

Without any direct control over the ISO, California would have no recourse in response but to appeal to FERC, and no option if rulings go against it but to exit into the chaos of trying to recreate CAISO. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s huge energy decision: link its grid to its neighbors, or stay autonomous?," 23 Aug. 2018 Husbands could beat and rape their wives with little worry of recourse; in 1910, the United States Supreme Court denied wives the right to prosecute their husbands for assault. Olivia Campbell, Smithsonian, "The Historical Struggle to Rid Socialism of Sexism," 12 July 2018 Charles — that would give LGBT Missourians a means of recourse when facing discrimination. Tessa Weinberg, kansascity, "Push for LGBT rights in Missouri clears hurdle — but unlikely to become law this year | The Kansas City Star," 17 May 2018 Eventually the two have no recourse but to collapse into giggles. Zack Ruskin, San Francisco Chronicle, "Sofi Tukker on ascension to dance pop stardom," 9 May 2018 And as in previous cases, Hinge probably doesn't have much recourse to stop them. Louise Matsakis, WIRED, "Facebook Dating Looks a Lot Like Hinge," 3 May 2018 Ginsburg told the audience that women had no recourse in that time. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "'It's About Time': Ruth Bader Ginsburg Talks #MeToo at the Sundance Film Festival," 22 Jan. 2018 Musicians sometimes have limited legal recourse in these situations. Amy B Wang, The Seattle Times, "Pharrell Williams wants to sue Trump for playing ‘Happy’ at an event after Pittsburgh massacre," 30 Oct. 2018 The revenue these mechanisms generate can then help those afflicted by rising seas or extreme weather gain recourse. Umair Irfan, Vox, "4 big takeaways from the UN’s alarming climate change report," 9 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recourse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of recourse

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for recourse

Middle English recours, from Anglo-French recurs, from Late Latin recursus, from Latin, act of running back, from recurrere to run back — more at recur

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Statistics for recourse

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for recourse

The first known use of recourse was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of recourse

: an opportunity or choice to use or do something in order to deal with a problem or situation


re·​course | \ˈrē-ˌkȯrs \

Kids Definition of recourse

: someone or something that can be turned to for help or protection


re·​course | \ˈrē-ˌkōrs, ri-ˈkōrs \

Legal Definition of recourse 

1a : the act of turning to someone or something for assistance especially in obtaining redress

b : a means to a desired end especially in the nature of a remedy or justice also : the end itself

2 : the right or ability to demand payment or compensation specifically : the right to demand payment from the endorser or drawer of a negotiable instrument — see also recourse note at note — compare non-recourse

Note: Under Article 3 of the Uniform Commercial Code, the phrase without recourse on a negotiable instrument limits the liability of the endorser or drawer. If an endorsement states that it is made without recourse, the endorser is not liable to pay, subject to various conditions, if the instrument is dishonored. Similarly, if a draft states that it is drawn without recourse, the drawer is not liable to pay, subject to various conditions, if the draft is dishonored, provided that it is not a check.

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More from Merriam-Webster on recourse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recourse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recourse

Spanish Central: Translation of recourse

Nglish: Translation of recourse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recourse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on recourse

What made you want to look up recourse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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