Definition of duress in English:


Syllabification: du·ress
Pronunciation: /d(y)o͝oˈres


1Threats, violence, constraints, or other action brought to bear on someone to do something against their will or better judgment: confessions extracted under duress
More example sentences
  • The resignation of the President is not constitutional because he did that under duress and threat.
  • Though the church consistently backed the state under communism, it clearly did so under duress and the threat of increased persecution.
  • We all know the commitments were entered into under duress, with teachers threatening to effectively shut down the system and block exams.
1.1 Law Constraint illegally exercised to force someone to perform an act.
More example sentences
  • At the end of the day, your Honours, the issue was whether or not a person who is not an employee can bring proceedings for the contravention of statutory duress.
  • My wife was forced under extreme duress to sign consent orders which are not in the best interests of the children.
  • Today there is much overlap with the common law principle of duress as this principle has subsequently been developed.
1.2 archaic Forcible restraint or imprisonment.
More example sentences
  • At the very least, they have been held for months in solitary confinement - treatment that constitutes a form of psychological duress and is thus prohibited under the Geneva Conventions.


Middle English (in the sense 'harshness, severity, cruel treatment'): via Old French from Latin duritia, from durus 'hard'.

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