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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) Requisite restraint in which a person is influenced, whether by lawful or unlawful forceful compulsion of their liberty by admonition or implementation of physical enforcement; for the incuring of civil liability, of committing an offence, of a civil arrest, or inclusion of subrogation.


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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.