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From Old French duresse, from Latin duritia ‎(hardness), from durus ‎(hard).



duress ‎(uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) Harsh treatment.
    • Burke
      The agreements [] made with the landlords during the time of slavery, are only the effect of duress and force.
  2. Constraint by threat.
  3. (law) The state of compulsion or necessity in which a person is influenced, whether by the unlawful restraint of his liberty or by actual or threatened physical violence, to incur a civil liability or to commit an offence.


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duress ‎(third-person singular simple present duresses, present participle duressing, simple past and past participle duressed)

  1. To put under duress; to pressure.
    Someone was duressing her.
    The small nation was duressed into giving up territory.