\ 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

Kramer said on Tuesday that the state has not responded to his tort claim notice. Hillary Borrud | The Oregonian/oregonlive,, "Oregon foster care workers accused of sex in front of child in 7th month of leave," 11 June 2019 Moreover, common-law torts such as defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with business relationships have long existed side-by-side with the First Amendment. David French, National Review, "The Oberlin Trial Is a Blueprint for Fighting Back," 10 June 2019 In March, Maloney took the first step toward a possible lawsuit by filing a notice of tort claim, which was sent to 12 possible defendants, including the NJSIAA. Phil Anastasia,, "NJSIAA nears ruling on Buena wrestling controversy," 5 June 2019 The decrease was driven by a drop in tort-claim settlements and payout amounts, including those involving the New York Police Department, according to Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office, which handles all claims against the city. Kate King, WSJ, "New York City’s Legal Payouts Dropped 8% in Fiscal 2018," 15 Apr. 2019 New York City paid out $1 billion in tort and legal settlements during fiscal year 2018, a nearly 8% decline from the previous year. Kate King, WSJ, "New York City’s Legal Payouts Dropped 8% in Fiscal 2018," 15 Apr. 2019 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

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

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Statistics for tort

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for tort

The first known use of tort was in 1586

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More Definitions for tort



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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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