Definition - Noun [Anglo-French duresce, literally, hardness, harshness, from Old French, from Latin duritia, from durus hard] : wrongful and usu. unlawful compulsion (as threats of physical violence) that induces a person to act against his or her will : See also coercion also : the affirmative defense of having acted under duress see also economic duress compare necessityundue influence A person may be able to avoid the consequences of his or her acts under the law if they were performed while under duress. For example, a contract made under duress is voidable by the coerced party. Similarly, a will signed under duress is invalid. Duress may also be used to justify a criminal act. A threat to bring a lawsuit is not duress. Pronunciationdu'-'res, dyu'-
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