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duress (noun) illegal or unfair compulsion; threat.

When you force a person to speak or do something under threat of serious harm, you get them to say it or do it under duress. Signatures and statements obtained under duress are signatures and statements people are forced to make under threats. You act under duress if you are forced by threats to act.

  • The judge held the statement legally invalid as the prosecution was able to establish that the witness, fearing for his life, had signed it under duress.
  • Under duress from Hitler, many Jews fled from areas dominated by their community, and sought shelter elsewhere.
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Last Modified : 11-May 2009
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