Definition of durance in English:



mass nounarchaic
  • Imprisonment or confinement.

    ‘the actor's years of durance vile in soap operas’
    • ‘But, setting aside my rancor, what we have here is four tales set during her durance vile at his castle, before he has earned her trust and love by learning to behave like a gentleman.’
    • ‘An eternity have I lingered, my eternal durance the penance I must pay for my crimes.’
    imprisonment, confinement, internment, incarceration, custody, detention, restraint, constraint, committal, arrest


Late Middle English (in the sense ‘continuance’): from Old French, from durer ‘to last’, from Latin durare. The sense ‘imprisonment’ is first recorded in the early 16th century.