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


  • (UK) IPA(key): /djʊˈɹɛs/, /d͡ʒʊˈɹɛs/
    • (file)
  • (US) IPA(key): /duˈɹɛs/
  • Rhymes: -ɛs


duress (uncountable)

  1. (obsolete) Harsh treatment.
    • (Can we date this quote by Burke and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      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) Restraint in which a person is influenced, whether by lawful or unlawful forceful compulsion of their liberty by monition or implementation of physical enforcement; legally for the incurring of civil liability, of a citizen's arrest, or of subrogation, or illegally for the committing of an offense, of forcing a contract, or of using threats.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


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.