1. Hardship; constraint; pressure; imprisonment; restraint of liberty. The agreements . . . Made with the landlords during the time of slavery, are only the effect of duress and force. (Burke)
2. 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.
Origin: OF. Duresse, du, hardship, severity, L. Duritia, durities, fr. Durus hard. See Dure.