from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The act or an instance of turning or applying to a person or thing for aid or security: have recourse to the courts.
  • n. One that is turned or applied to for aid or security: His only recourse was the police.
  • n. Law The right to demand payment from the endorser of a commercial paper when the first party liable fails to pay.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of seeking assistance or advice.
  • v. To return; to recur.
  • v. To have recourse; to resort.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A coursing back, or coursing again, along the line of a previous coursing; renewed course; return; retreat; recurence.
  • n. Recurrence in difficulty, perplexity, need, or the like; access or application for aid; resort.
  • n. Access; admittance.
  • intransitive v. To return; to recur.
  • intransitive v. To have recourse; to resort.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To return; recur.
  • To have recourse.
  • n. Resort for help or protection, as when in difficulty or perplexity.
  • n. Resort; customary visitation or communication.
  • n. Access; admittance.
  • n. Return; new attack; recurrence.
  • n. Repeated course; frequent flowing.
  • n. In Scots law, the right of an assignee or disponee under the warrandice of the transaction to recur on the vendor or cedent for relief in case of eviction or of defects inferring warrandice.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. something or someone turned to for assistance or security
  • n. act of turning to for assistance


Middle English recours, from Old French, from Latin recursus, a running back, from past participle of recurrere, to run back : re-, re- + currere, to run; see kers- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French recours < Latin recursus, past participle of recurrō. (Wiktionary)



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  • Before I discovered this awesome website my best recourse was Wikipedia.

    May 4, 2012