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


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

Investigators said the lack of a central figure responsible for tracking those reports contributed to a system that allowed the longtime educator to bounce from school to school with little recourse for years., "Portland Public Schools hires Title IX director tasked with training, compliance in federal sexual harassment and discrimination policies," 21 June 2019 Has this bus already left the station with no recourse that could stop the changes? Roy S. Johnson |,, "Johnson: Bham transit’s interim leader is now the CEO; get ready for more change," 20 June 2019 Bouazizi had been harassed by police officers who attempted to shut down his business with no recourse, and his suicide by self-immolation galvanized Tunisian protesters. Erin Blakemore, National Geographic, "What was the Arab Spring and how did it spread?," 29 Mar. 2019 On Gun Violence The Federal Commission on School Safety issued a report in December 2018, which recommends arming teachers as a possible recourse to prevent school shootings. Natasha Bach, Fortune, "When Asked About Human Rights Issues, Trump Pointed to His Website. Here's What We Found," 21 June 2019 The case of the Canadian trash in the Philippines shows how countries often have little recourse under existing trade rules to send back illicit plastic shipments. Shashank Bengali,, "Asian countries take a stand against the rich world’s plastic waste," 17 June 2019 There’s no recourse with those kinds of bad actors. Ben Collins, NBC News, "This viral Schwarzenegger deepfake isn't just entertaining. It's a warning.," 12 June 2019 In countries that don’t have a strong rule of law or legal recourse avenues, U.S. and other foreign firms are at a disadvantage. Christine Mcdaniel, Fortune, "America Expects Too Much From the WTO. But It’s Our Problem to Fix," 7 June 2018 According to The Washington Post, the shutdown has left Americans who want fewer phone calls—which is all of us, really—with no recourse. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "There's Nothing Stopping Robocalls During the Government Shutdown," 17 Jan. 2019

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

19 Jul 2019

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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 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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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).


to complain fretfully

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