Let’s hope you’re never denied food and sleep and forced to sign a confession, but if you are, that's called being under duress. Threats and harsh treatment meant to make you do something you don’t want to do is duress.

The word duress came into English through French, with origins in the Latin word duritia, which means “hardness.” First used to describe harsh or cruel treatment, duress soon took on the additional meaning of forcing someone to do something, usually through threats. Duress is typically used with the word under, as in a suspect who only signs a confession because he is under duress.

Definitions of duress
  1. noun
    compulsory force or threat
    “confessed under duress
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    type of:
    a powerful effect or influence
Word Family