[ door-uhns, dyoor- ]
See synonyms for durance on Thesaurus.com
  1. incarceration or imprisonment (often used in the phrase durance vile).

  2. Archaic. endurance.

Origin of durance

1400–50; late Middle English <Middle French. See dure2, -ance

Words Nearby durance

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use durance in a sentence

  • The two weeks of durance vile among the low castes in the steerage should be amply repaid.

    The Adventures of Kathlyn | Harold MacGrath
  • Here his charge ended, he had conveyed the Land-despoiler to durance vile.

    A German Pompadour | Marie Hay
  • Here he was held in durance for some time, and was then brought to Paris to be tried for treason.

    Louis Philippe | John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • "The best friend Christina ever had" she would surely some day see could not have lingered in the black durance that he loathed.

    "Persons Unknown" | Virginia Tracy
  • But the case was very different, when Hannibal crossed from the shores of the durance to the banks of the Po.

British Dictionary definitions for durance (1 of 2)


/ (ˈdjʊərəns) /

nounarchaic, or literary
  1. imprisonment

  2. duration

Origin of durance

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

British Dictionary definitions for Durance (2 of 2)


/ (French dyrɑ̃s) /

  1. 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