Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

extort

play
verb ex·tort \ik-ˈstȯrt\

Simple Definition of extort

  • : to get (something, such as money) from a person by the use of force or threats

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of extort

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power :  wring; also :  to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument

extorter

noun

extortive

play \-ˈstȯr-tiv\ adjective

Examples of extort in a sentence

  1. The criminals extorted large sums of money from their victims.

  2. He was arrested for extorting bribes.



Did You Know?

To extort is literally to wrench something out of someone. Extortion is a mainstay of organized crime. Just as the school bully extorts lunch money from the smaller kids in exchange for not beating them up, thugs extort "protection" money from business owners with threats of violence. But that's only one kind of extortion; a mobster might extort favors from a politician with threats of revealing some dark secret, just as you might extort a favor from a brother or sister by promising not to tell on them.

Origin and Etymology of extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquēre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquēre to twist — more at torture


First Known Use: 15th century

Synonym Discussion of extort

educe, evoke, elicit, extract, extort mean to draw out something hidden, latent, or reserved. educe implies the bringing out of something potential or latent <educed order out of chaos>. evoke implies a strong stimulus that arouses an emotion or an interest or recalls an image or memory <a song that evokes warm memories>. elicit usually implies some effort or skill in drawing forth a response <careful questioning elicited the truth>. extract implies the use of force or pressure in obtaining answers or information <extracted a confession from him>. extort suggests a wringing or wresting from one who resists strongly <extorted their cooperation by threatening to inform>.

Law Dictionary

extort

play
transitive verb ex·tort \ik-ˈstȯrt\

Legal Definition of extort

  1. :  to obtain (as money) from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or unlawful use of authority or power

extorter

noun

extortive

\-ˈstȯr-tiv\ play adjective


Origin and Etymology of extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquere to remove by twisting, obtain by force, from ex- out + torquere to twist



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up extort? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a secret group of plotters

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accommodate acommodate accomodate acommadate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ