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  • Noun




The boys finally admitted that they’d been at the scene of the crime; their confession came unwillingly under the duress of many hours of police interrogation. They claimed they’d been part of the robbery, but had been forced into it under duress, since they’d been threatened by the actual robbers. The judge believed that they were good kids who wouldn’t do wrong unless they were the victims of extreme threat or duress.

Quiz: What does it mean to do something under duress?

  • You don’t do it willingly but out of fear.
  • You don’t remember doing it afterward.
  • You do it secretly and hope no one finds out.

Memory Hook

Endure the Stress "I can't endure the stress! The pressure of duress is killing me! OK, OK, OK ... I'll eat your fruitcake! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH ..."


  • Dixon claimed she did not have to prove that duress was the determining factor in her illegal actions and that she did not willingly break the law. —BNET
  • Two recent cases in the Technology and Construction Court provide guidance as to what is required and practical examples of what does and what does not constitute economic duress. —BNET
  • Of course this statement might have been under extreme duress, yet I, for one, would await further development before pointing fingers. —Newsvine
  • If a defendant tries to retract or deny a confession in front of a jury, it will spotlight the issue and may lead to an eventual realization that confessions taken under such duress are inappropriate as evidence of guilt. —The Christian Science Monitor

Word Ingredients

dur hard, harsh
-ess forms a Middle English noun

Duress is the application of “hardness” or “harshness” when one is trying to forcefully get someone to do something.

Word Theater

Outer Limits A man under severe duress.

Word Constellation