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duress(dyo͝o`rĭs, do͝o`–, do͝orĕs`), in law, actual or threatened violence or imprisonment, by reason of which a person is forced to enter into an agreement or to perform some other act against his will. The constraint or threat of constraint must have been directed toward the person thus compelled or toward the wife, husband, parent, child, or other near relative of the person compelled. Anyone who makes a contract under duress is entitled to void it and be free of its obligations, but in order to release him from the contract duress must be shown to have overcome his mind and will. However, annoyance and persuasion do not constitute duress. See also coercioncoercion,
in law, the unlawful act of compelling a person to do, or to abstain from doing, something by depriving him of the exercise of his free will, particularly by use or threat of physical or moral force.
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Law the illegal exercise of coercion
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005