\ ˈtȯrt How to pronounce tort (audio) \

Definition of tort

: a wrongful act other than a breach of contract for which relief may be obtained in the form of damages or an injunction

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Did You Know?

Tort came into English straight from French many centuries ago, and it still looks a little odd. Its root meaning of "twisted" (as opposed to "straight") obviously came to mean "wrong" (as opposed to "right"). Every first-year law student takes a course in the important subject of torts. Torts include all the so-called "product-liability" cases, against manufacturers of cars, household products, children's toys, and so on. They also cover dog bites, slander and libel, and a huge variety of other very personal cases of injury, both mental and physical—Torts class is never dull. If you're sued for a tort and lose, you usually have to pay "damages"—that is, a sum of money—to the person who you wronged.

Examples of tort in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The vagaries of American tort law were on display in San Francisco last week as six jurors decided that Bayer AG is liable for $80.3 million in damages for allegedly causing a Sonoma man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Jackpot Junk Science," 31 Mar. 2019 To the contrary, Congress expressly preserved state regulation of all communications services through consumer protection, tort, or other state law remedies, and warned against implied preemption. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "Ajit Pai helped Charter kill consumer-protection rules in Minnesota," 10 Sep. 2018 Mass torts, procedurally, require each plaintiff to establish certain facts specific to that particular plaintiff, and how that person was damaged by the actions of defendant. James F. Mccarty,, "Dozens of lawsuits expected in UH fertility clinic malfunction, lawyers say," 12 Mar. 2018 New York, however, does not recognize the specific tort claims pressed in the suit. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Lawsuit linking Trump to leak of Democratic emails tossed out on procedural grounds," 4 July 2018 The neighbor was acquitted of second-degree murder but lost his tort claim against the dead boy and a friend of his. Randy Maniloff, WSJ, "But Your Honor, It Was Halloween!," 30 Oct. 2018 Ralph’s tort claim against the bar is now in mediation, Ruiz said. Lewis Kamb, The Seattle Times, "Woman alleges sexual harassment, says Washington State Bar Association didn’t hold board exec accountable," 11 Dec. 2018 In Arkansas, outside groups earlier this year spent more than $1.6 million in an effort to unseat a justice who drew the ire of conservatives for past rulings on voter ID laws and tort reform. Andrew Demillo, The Seattle Times, "State supreme court battles mirror the fight over Kavanaugh," 2 Oct. 2018 That number is likely to jump in the wake of the Missouri jury’s decision, said Elizabeth Burch, a University of Georgia law professor who teaches about mass-tort law. Jef Feeley And Margaret Cronin Fisk,, "Johnson & Johnson’s $4.69 billion talc verdict may open floodgates to more suits," 14 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'tort.' 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 tort

1586, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for tort

Middle English, injury, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin tortum, from Latin, neuter of tortus twisted, from past participle of torquēre

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Dictionary Entries near tort

torsion scale







Statistics for tort

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for tort

The first known use of tort was in 1586

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English Language Learners Definition of tort

law : an action that wrongly causes harm to someone but that is not a crime and that is dealt with in a civil court


\ ˈtȯrt How to pronounce tort (audio) \

Legal Definition of tort

: a wrongful act other than a breach of contract that injures another and for which the law imposes civil liability : a violation of a duty (as to exercise due care) imposed by law as distinguished from contract for which damages or declaratory relief (as an injunction) may be obtained also : a cause of action based on such an act the court declined to recognize the tort National Law Journal cannot sue in tort — compare crime, delict

History and Etymology for tort

Anglo-French, wrongful or illegal act, from Old French, injury, from Medieval Latin tortum, from Latin, neuter of tortus twisted, from past participle of torquēre to twist

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More from Merriam-Webster on tort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tort

Nglish: Translation of tort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tort for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about tort

Comments on tort

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


not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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