Dictionary

blackmail

noun black·mail \ˈblak-ˌmāl\

: the crime of threatening to tell secret information about someone unless the person being threatened gives you money or does what you want

: something (such as money) that is received through blackmail

Full Definition of BLACKMAIL

1
:  a tribute anciently exacted on the Scottish border by plundering chiefs in exchange for immunity from pillage
2
a :  extortion or coercion by threats especially of public exposure or criminal prosecution
b :  the payment that is extorted
blackmail transitive verb
black·mail·er noun
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Examples of BLACKMAIL

  1. She was a victim of blackmail.
  2. The servant extorted blackmail from her employer.

Origin of BLACKMAIL

black + 1mail
First Known Use: 1552

Other Government and Politics Terms

agent provocateur, agitprop, autarky, cabal, egalitarianism, federalism, hegemony, plenipotentiary, popular sovereignty, socialism
BLACKMAIL Defined for Kids

1blackmail

noun black·mail \ˈblak-ˌmāl\

Definition of BLACKMAIL for Kids

1
:  the act of forcing someone to do or pay something by threatening to reveal a secret
2
:  something (as money) obtained by threatening to reveal a secret

2blackmail

verb
black·mailedblack·mail·ing

Definition of BLACKMAIL for Kids

:  to threaten to reveal a secret unless something is done (as paying money)
black·mail·er noun

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