durance vile

Also found in: Idioms.
See: detention
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When we were in durance vile in seminary, unlike the prisoners in iconic stories like "The Great Escape," we didn't spend our off work hours digging tunnels under the fence to the nearest autobahn or airport.
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Like Homer's painting, these ceramic works stand on their own visual and tactile qualities: tactile because this is not just ceramics we are talking about, but porcelain--brittle, fragile eternal porcelain--invented in the ancient world of China and reinvented by an kidnapped alchemist held in durance vile.