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

Johnson also noted that just because someone is apprehended, that does not mean the person is automatically deported without access to any legal recourse. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Former DHS chief warns immigrants not to open doors for ICE without a warrant," 14 July 2019 In a strange twist, several online lenders connect their operations with Native American tribes to severely limit any legal recourse. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Westland woman had 350% interest rate on $1,200 loan — and a loophole allows it," 12 July 2019 But most consumers who could potentially obtain cryptocurrencies live in an environment where the identities of participants are known and where legal recourse is expected. WSJ, "Can Bitcoin Become a Dominant Currency?," 21 Oct. 2018 EBay users’ participation in the site’s governance is best understood as large-scale offloading of labor, and is basically limited to snitching on one another; users have some recourse against one another and somewhat less against the site itself. John Herrman, New York Times, "Want to Understand What Ails the Modern Internet? Look at eBay," 20 June 2018 The Supreme Court determined in 1998 that employees, in order to get legal recourse, have to first file harassment complaints with HR. Claire Zillman, Fortune, "HR Is Not Your Friend. Here’s Why," 16 Feb. 2018 The cases against Killingsworth highlight the dangers of using unlicensed contractors, which can leave consumers with little recourse to ensure work is properly completed. Robert Anglen, azcentral, "'Garage-Door Guy' stiffs Arizona customers on unfinished jobs," 6 June 2019 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

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

16 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for recourse

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

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More Definitions for recourse



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).


a usually brief trip or an expedition

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