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

So was this Delta's fault and do passengers have any recourse? Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, "These Are Your Rights During During a Lengthy Tarmac Delay," 23 Aug. 2019 When the country's financial system collapsed and banks ran out of money, depositors had no recourse. Matt Egan, CNN, "Her family lost its savings in a bank run in Yugoslavia. Now she's in charge of the FDIC," 12 Aug. 2019 The Oregonian/OregonLive has identified at least 25 victims left with no recourse once Saudi suspects left the country., "Saudi students escaping US justice: Amid political impasse, one sexual assault survivor speaks out," 2 Aug. 2019 Santa Anita said no and the CHRB had no recourse because of a mandatory 10-day public notice period required for any action by the board. John Cherwa,, "New California law gives racing board the ability to act quickly," 26 June 2019 In certain cases, the Muslim sheikhs’ response to colonial pressure involved a tart recourse to Islam’s holy texts, in which the existence of slavery is taken as an inexorable feature of human society. The Economist, "Everywhere in chains," 27 Aug. 2019 With the horrifying massacres in El Paso and Dayton, political entrepreneurs already are taking recourse to the tenets of illiberal democracy. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Reflex toward Illiberal Democracy," 7 Aug. 2019 Notifying other defendants of their legal recourse in light of the ruling poses a challenge, since most have been deported. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Appeals court ruling theoretically invalidates thousands of illegal entry convictions against migrants," 26 July 2019 Their only recourse is to reopen the deportation order, which means asking the court to step in and stop the deportation while the motion is pending. Rafael Carranza, azcentral, "5 things to know about the upcoming immigration raids in major U.S. cities," 12 July 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

13 Sep 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).


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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