\ˈtȯrt \

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

That amount is likely to get dramatically reduced because Ohio's tort reform laws limit punitive damages to twice the amount of compensatory damages. Cory Shaffer,, "Jury slaps Cleveland Clinic Foundation with $28 million judgment in age discrimination suit," 27 Apr. 2018 There are a lot of ways organizations can use bankruptcy to maneuver around the tort system. Michael Hiltzik,, "Is the Sandy Hook massacre the real impetus behind the Remington Arms bankruptcy?," 27 Mar. 2018 The San Jacinto River Authority was denied motions to dismiss a mass tort lawsuit involving more than 100 Lake Houston area residents. Melanie Feuk, Houston Chronicle, "Lake Houston residents' flooding lawsuit against SJRA lands in appellate court," 2 Feb. 2018 The couple must first exhaust legal remedies through a tort claim with the Postal Service. Maria Cramer,, "Facing off with the US Postal Service," 13 July 2018 Currently, his firm operates in five states and also handles mass torts nationwide. Ivana Hrynkiw,, "Alabama student takes senior pictures with attorney Alexander Shunnarah," 11 Mar. 2018 Duncan was able to sue Williams and the Clinic however, by filing a tort, or intentional harm, claim, for assault, battery and negligence, according to court records. Ginger Christ And Brie Zeltner,, "System to screen and credential newly-hired doctors can miss previous sexual assault allegations, Ohio State case shows," 28 Jan. 2018 About: Bohannon focuses her practice primarily on commercial litigation, including real estate litigation, class action litigation, securities disputes, lender liability, general contract, tort issues, and probate and trust disputes. miamiherald, "Senior-level hires and promotions in South Florida for the week of July 2, 2018," 2 July 2018 The broader business of lending to mass-tort firms is also facing growing pressure. Matthew Goldstein, New York Times, "Hedge Funds Look to Profit From Personal-Injury Suits," 25 June 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

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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Dictionary Entries near tort

torsion scale







Statistics for tort

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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 \

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

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