re·​course | \ ˈrē-ˌkȯrs How to pronounce recourse (audio) , 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


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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 Racial discrimination has happened at banks for years with limited legal recourse, legal experts said. Faith Karimi, CNN, "A 911 call, a racial slur, a refusal to cash a check. This is what it's like for some Black bank customers," 2 July 2020 Some of the cases date back 30 years, suggesting the Saudi government may have spent decades subverting the U.S. criminal justice system and leaving untold numbers of victims without any recourse. oregonlive, "Oregon senators renew push to punish Saudi Arabia over suspected role in whisking fugitives out of US," 29 June 2020 While Boba Guys workers thought their individual experiences were unique, the social media uproar has led them to band together and consider legal recourse. Janelle Bitker,, "Boba Guys workers allege pattern of racial discrimination at SF cafe chain," 27 June 2020 Those living in states in which laws already protected them from such discrimination also now have additional recourse available through the federal courts. Brent Schrotenboer, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court ruling on LGBTQ rights: What does it mean and what changes?," 15 June 2020 To quell the recent surge of unrest, the mayor has had recourse to an old, definitive paradigm: a transport grid that slows people down and keeps them at home. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "A Fragile Answer to the Question of “Whose Streets?”," 10 June 2020 Goldberg believes victims like Herrick should have recourse against technology platforms, too. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "The Internet’s most important—and misunderstood—law, explained," 10 June 2020 The result leaves residents with little recourse to hold nursing homes to account. Nicolas Paul Terry, The Conversation, "States are making it harder to sue nursing homes over COVID-19: Why immunity from lawsuits is a problem," 9 June 2020 For many, turning to the community might be the only recourse to survive. Fox News, "Scores of minority-owned small businesses in Santa Monica turn to crowdfunding sites for help after being burned, looted and vandalized," 6 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for recourse

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

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Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recourse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for recourse


How to pronounce recourse (audio)

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 How to pronounce recourse (audio) \

Kids Definition of recourse

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


re·​course | \ ˈrē-ˌkōrs, ri-ˈkōrs How to pronounce recourse (audio) \

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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