What does duress mean?

Definitions for duress
dʊˈrɛs, dyʊ-, ˈdʊər ɪs, ˈdyʊər-duress

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word duress.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. duressnoun

    compulsory force or threat

    "confessed under duress"


  1. duressnoun

    Harsh treatment.

  2. duressnoun

    Constraint by threat.

  3. duressverb

    To put under duress; to pressure.

  4. Etymology: duresse, from duritia, from durus


  1. duress

    Coercion () is compelling a party to act in an involuntary manner by the use of threats, including threats to use force against a party. It involves a set of forceful actions which violate the free will of an individual in order to induce a desired response. These actions may include extortion, blackmail, or even torture and sexual assault. For example, a bully may demand lunch money from a student where refusal results in the student getting beaten. In common law systems, the act of violating a law while under coercion is codified as a duress crime. Coercion can be used as leverage to force the victim to act in a way contrary to their own interests. Coercion can involve not only the infliction of bodily harm, but also psychological abuse (the latter intended to enhance the perceived credibility of the threat). The threat of further harm may also lead to the acquiescence of the person being coerced. The concepts of coercion and persuasion are similar, but various factors distinguish the two. These include the intent, the willingness to cause harm, the result of the interaction, and the options available to the coerced party.: 126 John Rawls, Thomas Nagel, Ronald Dworkin, and other political authors argue that the state is coercive.: 28  Max Weber defined a state as "a community which has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force." Morris argues that the state can operate through incentives rather than coercion.: 42  In healthcare, informal coercion may be used to make a patient adhere to a doctor's treatment plan. Under certain circumstances, physical coercion is used to treat a patient involuntarily.


  1. duress

    Duress refers to coercion or pressure exerted on an individual, compelling them to act against their will or judgement. It can involve threats, violence, constraints, or other forms of force. In legal context, agreements or actions performed under duress may not be legally binding as they don't reflect the voluntary consent of the involved parties.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Duressnoun

    hardship; constraint; pressure; imprisonment; restraint of liberty

  2. Duressnoun

    the state of compulsion or necessity in which a person is influenced, whether by the unlawful restrain of his liberty or by actual or threatened physical violence, to incur a civil liability or to commit an offense

  3. Duressverb

    to subject to duress

  4. Etymology: [OF. duresse, du, hardship, severity, L. duritia, durities, fr. durus hard. See Dure.]


  1. Duress

    In jurisprudence, duress or coercion refers to a situation whereby a person performs an act as a result of violence, threat or other pressure against the person. Black's Law Dictionary defines duress as "any unlawful threat or coercion used... to induce another to act [or not act] in a manner [they] otherwise would not [or would]". Duress is pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act that he or she ordinarily would not perform. The notion of duress must be distinguished both from undue influence in the civil law and from necessity. Duress has two aspects. One is that it negates the person's consent to an act, such as sexual activity or the entering into a contract; or, secondly, as a possible legal defense or justification to an otherwise unlawful act. A defendant utilizing the duress defense admits to breaking the law, but claims that he/she is not liable because, even though the act broke the law, it was only performed because of extreme unlawful pressure. In criminal law, a duress defense is similar to a plea of guilty, admitting partial culpability, so that if the defense is not accepted then the criminal act is admitted. Duress or coercion can also be raised in an allegation of rape or sexual assault to negate a defense of consent on the part of the person making the allegation.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Duress

    dūr′es, or dūr-es′, n. constraint: imprisonment: constraint illegally exercised to force a person to perform some act. [O. Fr. duresse—L. duritiadurus, hard.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of duress in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of duress in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of duress in a Sentence

  1. Patrick Roberson:

    Will you quit? Obviously, Col. Davis showed, ‘I’m never going to quit. No matter what the odds, no matter how badly I’m hurt, I am not going to quit,’ the grit, determination, competence under extreme duress – I can’t say enough about what he did.

  2. Lisa Torraco:

    He wasn't distracted and he wasn't under duress and he didn't overlook anything, he did his job the way he was told and taught to do his job. He relied on other people to do their job because they're professionals as well.

  3. Gregory Anderson:

    The tyranny of distance in Africa can not be overstated, especially during life-threatening MEDEVAC situations, while the primary mission of Warfighter Recover Network is to rescue our military personnel during operations in Africa its robustness allows for unique missions like this. We are all grateful for the pilots, crews, medics, and rescue professionals and the courage they demonstrate to help anyone under duress.

  4. Alex Lin:

    The labor market will continue to be under duress as businesses adapt to an economy running well below capacity, resulting in elevated layoffs.

  5. Ali Vaez:

    Iran is quite experienced in living under economic duress ... In the past few years, its non-oil exports have grown significantly and so has their trade with neighboring countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, iran can also smuggle oil and generate some revenue.

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Translations for duress

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"duress." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 26 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/duress>.

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