co·​er·​cion | \ kō-ˈər-zhən How to pronounce coercion (audio) , -shən\

Definition of coercion

: the act, process, or power of coercing They used coercion to obtain the confession.

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Examples of coercion in a Sentence

a promise obtained by coercion is never binding

Recent Examples on the Web

Additional charges of strangulation, attempted strangulation, coercion and harassment were dropped as part of a plea agreement. Everton Bailey Jr.,, "Washington County deputy gets probation in domestic violence case, quits job," 9 Feb. 2018 No evidence of abuse, coercion, none of those claims have come to fruition. Washington Post, "Nearly 400 people used California assisted death law in 2017," 24 June 2018 Across the country, hundreds of thousands of prisoners are adding their voices to biometric databases set up by state correctional organizations under coercion from their prison. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Prisons Are Building Giant Biometric Databases of Prisoners' Voices," 1 Feb. 2019 Others are more complex, as with Missouri Governor Eric Greitens, where an encounter might have begun consensually but allegedly veered into coercion and assault. Lisa Feldman Barrett, Time, "Why Men Need to Stop Relying on Non-Verbal Consent, According to a Neuroscientist," 11 May 2018 Some of the most haunting stories are from women who have survived human trafficking and ended up working under force, fraud, or coercion. Elizabeth Drew, New Republic, "Capital Offenses," 8 Feb. 2018 Two years later, both brothers pleaded guilty to 37 felonies, including grand larceny and coercion, according to the Manhattan district attorney’s office. Katie Honan, WSJ, "Prosecutors Probe Hoteliers Paid by New York City to House Homeless," 18 Jan. 2019 And there's fresh hope that the U.S. president's abrupt shift from coercion to negotiation can yield results in getting Kim to halt, if not abandon, his nuclear weapons program. Matthew Pennington, Fox News, "Some see signs of hope on North Korea as Trump heads to UN," 22 Sep. 2018 Yet the emerging imperium is more a result of the Communist Party’s exercise of hard power, including economic coercion, than the product of a gravitational pull of Chinese ideas or contemporary culture. Edward Wong, New York Times, "A Chinese Empire Reborn," 5 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'coercion.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of coercion

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for coercion

Middle English cohercion, borrowed from Anglo-French cohercioun, borrowed from Late Latin coerctiōn-, coerctiō, by-form of Latin coercitiōn-, coercitiō, from coerci-, variant stem of coercēre "to coerce" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of verbal action

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Time Traveler for coercion

The first known use of coercion was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for coercion


co·​er·​cion | \ kō-ˈər-zhən, -shən How to pronounce coercion (audio) \

Legal Definition of coercion

: the use of express or implied threats of violence or reprisal (as discharge from employment) or other intimidating behavior that puts a person in immediate fear of the consequences in order to compel that person to act against his or her will also : the defense that one acted under coercion — see also defense, duress — compare undue influence

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More from Merriam-Webster on coercion

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with coercion

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for coercion

Spanish Central: Translation of coercion

Nglish: Translation of coercion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coercion for Arabic Speakers

Comments on coercion

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behavior toward others

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