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[doo r-uh ns, dyoo r-] /ˈdʊər əns, ˈdyʊər-/
incarceration or imprisonment (often used in the phrase durance vile).
Archaic. endurance.
Origin of durance
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Middle French. See dure2, -ance Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for durance
Historical Examples
  • "Job" had escaped from durance vile and was seeking companionship.

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • Note a similar liberty allowed to Paul when in durance, Acts 24:23.

    Jesus the Christ James Edward Talmage
  • If Master Walgrave were in durance vile, where was my mistress and her family?

    Sir Ludar Talbot Baines Reed
  • Loris used his influence with the authorities to keep Joseph in durance.

    Rabbi and Priest

    Milton Goldsmith
  • Fortunately for Delia's nerves they were not kept long in durance vile.

  • So the goddess was led away and kept in durance and in misery.


    Znade A. Ragozin
  • But once on the wall, it was no trick to snatch the damsel from her durance vile.

    Humorous Ghost Stories Dorothy Scarborough
  • Restraint, durance, confinement under arrest, or in the bilboes.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • In a few minutes it was re-opened, and the men issued one by one from durance vile.

    Ungava R.M. Ballantyne
  • It gainsayeth those who would accuse us of rigour in his durance.

    The Last Of The Barons, Complete Edward Bulwer-Lytton
British Dictionary definitions for durance


noun (archaic or literary)
Word Origin
C15: from Old French, from durer to last, from Latin dūrāre


/French dyrɑ̃s/
a river in S France, rising in the Alps and flowing generally southwest into the Rhône. Length: 304 km (189 miles)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for durance

late 15c., from Old French durance "duration," from durer "to endure," from Latin durare (see endure).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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