\ 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

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 Cuyahoga common pleas, judge who cited tort reform as the reason for reducing this award. Laura Johnston, cleveland, 31 Mar. 2022 If companies are too vulnerable to abusive lawsuits, the answer is tort reform, not a sneaky legal work-around. Nr Editors, National Review, 3 Mar. 2022 The parents’ rights cause also ran headlong into another GOP priority: tort reform. Jennifer C. Berkshire, The New Republic, 9 Dec. 2021 The tort settlement, awarded to the family of Julian E. Lewis, is the largest since 1990, according to data provided by the Georgia Department of Administrative Services, attorney Andrew Lampros said. Alexis Stevens, ajc, 1 Apr. 2022 Negligence claims in tort law generally allow consumers to sue for negligence caused by carelessness, which doesn’t always involve a violation of the law or knowingly entrusting someone unfit to handle the product. Glenn Kessler, Anchorage Daily News, 2 Mar. 2022 Under Indiana law, government agencies that receive tort claim notices could agree to pay the victims or deny the request. Johnny Magdaleno, USA TODAY, 13 Jan. 2022 An attorney for Helder, Karas, the clinic and jail, filed an answer in the case contending they are entitled to several forms of legal immunity from being sued, including statutory and qualified immunity and tort and negligence immunity. Tom Sissom, Arkansas Online, 18 Feb. 2022 Jacob Fuchsberg, a very successful tort lawyer, used a slick campaign to win a seat on New York state’s highest court in 1974 despite complaints from the state’s Bar Association about his lack of qualifications. John Steele Gordon, WSJ, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tort.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

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\ 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

More from Merriam-Webster on tort

Nglish: Translation of tort for Spanish Speakers

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


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