Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



From Middle English recours (noun) and recoursen (verb), from Old French recours, from Latin recursus, past participle of recurrō.



recourse (countable and uncountable, plural recourses)

  1. The act of seeking assistance or advice.
    • 1678, Nathaniel Wanley, The Wonders of the Little World
      Thus dyed this great Peer in the thirty sixth year of his age compleat, and three days over, in a time of great recourse unto him, and dependence upon him
    • 1669 June (first performance), John Dryden, Tyrannick Love, or, The Royal Martyr. [], London: [] H[enry] Herringman, [], published 1670, OCLC 228732431, Act IV, scene i, page 29:
      All other means have fail'd to move her heart; / Our laſt recourſe is, therefore, to your Art.
  2. (uncountable, recourse to) The use of (someone or something) as a source of help in a difficult situation.
    • 1912 October, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “Tarzan of the Apes”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., OCLC 17392886; republished as “Man’s Reason”, in Tarzan of the Apes, New York, N.Y.: A. L. Burt Company, 1914, OCLC 1224185, page 151:
      Tarzan would have liked to subdue the ugly beast without recourse to knife or arrows. So much had his great strength and agility increased in the period following his maturity that he had come to believe that he might master the redoubtable Terkoz in a hand to hand fight were it not for the terrible advantage the anthropoid's huge fighting fangs gave him over the poorly armed Tarzan.
    • 1929, M. Barnard Eldershaw, A House Is Built, chapter VIII, section ii:
      Nor were the wool prospects much better. The pastoral industry, which had weathered the severe depression of the early forties by recourse to boiling down the sheep for their tallow, and was now firmly re-established as the staple industry of the colony, was threatened once more with eclipse.
    • 1940 May, “The Why and the Wherefore: Running Powers”, in Railway Magazine, page 318:
      This was done, and in many cases still is done by the main-line railway groups, through the exercise of running powers, which on application to Parliament by the company using them have been granted for the express purpose of affording this access without the necessity for building independent tracks. In other cases, such running powers have been granted without recourse to Parliament, by voluntary agreement between the parties.
  3. (obsolete) A coursing back, or coursing again; renewed course; return; retreat; recurrence.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], London: [] [John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938, book IV, canto VI, stanza 29, page 88:
      [B]y the ſwift recourſe of fluſhing blood / Right plaine appeard, though ſhe it would diſſemble, / And fayned ſtill her former angry mood, / Thinking to hide the depth by troubling of the flood.
    • 1650, Thomas Browne, “Of the Canicular or Dog-daies”, in Pseudodoxia Epidemica: [], 2nd edition, London: [] A. Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, [], OCLC 152706203, 4th book, page 195:
      For Phyſick is either curative or preventive; Preventive we call that which by purging noxious humors, and the cauſes of diſeases, preventeth ſickneſs in the healthy, or the recourſe thereof in the valetudinary; [...]
  4. (obsolete) Access; admittance.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]



recourse (third-person singular simple present recourses, present participle recoursing, simple past and past participle recoursed)

  1. (obsolete) To return; to recur.
    • 1563, John Foxe, “Martyrdom of Thomas Bilney”, in Actes and Monuments:
      [] the flame departing and recoursing thrice ere the wood took strength to be sharper to consume []
  2. (obsolete) To have recourse; to resort.
    • (Can we find and add a quotation of Bishop Hacket to this entry?)