Definition of recourse in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈrēˌkôrs/
Pronunciation: /rēˈkôrs/


[in singular]
1A source of help in a difficult situation: surgery may be the only recourse
More example sentences
  • This is often a last recourse, only reluctantly resorted to when a party is clearly concealing income.
  • When hegemony breaks down, as it did for liberal democracy in late Weimar, there will be a recourse to extreme measures to preserve the status quo.
  • Has the ability to use force with impunity lowered the moral standard for the recourse to force considerably from the last-resort requirements of just war?
option, possibility, alternative, resort, way out, hope, remedy, choice, expedient
1.1 (recourse to) The use of someone or something as a source of help in a difficult situation: a means of solving disputes without recourse to courts of law all three countries had recourse to the IMF for standby loans
More example sentences
  • Now, the Pastons had recourse to the courts, but also felt able to join the political conflict themselves.
  • Although participants remained highly critical of unregulated ethnomedicine, few had recourse to desired alternatives.
  • On another note, I had recourse to the calamine lotion bottle last night when I realised I'd applied suntan lotion so cack-handedly that my left shoulder was completely unprotected.
resort to, make use of, avail oneself of, turn to, call on, look to, fall back on
1.2The legal right to demand compensation or payment: the bank has recourse against the exporter for losses incurred
More example sentences
  • To make matters worse, you will have no recourse because a compensation clause will rarely be in your contract.
  • As the branch had, functionally, agreed to negotiate or collect the cheque, it had a collecting bank's right of recourse when the cheque was dishonoured.
  • If the company declares bankruptcy within two years of the deal you risk being charged with conspiracy in asset-stripping and could lose the property without compensation or recourse.


without recourse

Finance A formula used to disclaim responsibility for future nonpayment, especially of a negotiable financial instrument.
Example sentences
  • The second letter, signed by him as an agent of the association, declared that the transfer was made ‘without recourse.’
  • In the case of a cooperative sale in which the buyer offers a promissory note as an earnest money deposit, the note should be made payable to the listing broker or should be endorsed ‘without recourse’ by the selling broker to the listing broker.


Late Middle English (also in the sense 'running or flowing back'): from Old French recours, from Latin recursus, from re- 'back, again' + cursus 'course, running'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·course

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