[doo r-uh ns, dyoo r-]


incarceration or imprisonment (often used in the phrase durance vile).
Archaic. endurance.

Origin of durance

1400–50; late Middle English < Middle French. See dure2, -ance
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for durance

Historical Examples of durance

  • "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.

British Dictionary definitions for durance


noun archaic, or literary


Word Origin for durance

C15: from Old French, from durer to last, from Latin dūrāre



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

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