co·​er·​cion | \kō-ˈər-zhən, -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

In its current manifestation, Shirkers is a beguiling, stranger-than-fiction caper about youthful gumption, older-male coercion, and female friendship gone awry (Tan and Ng have never quite resolved their differences about the escapade). Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Sandi Tan’s Shirkers May Be the Year’s Most Compelling Grifter Story," 15 Oct. 2018 Prosecutors consider Cantrell a career offender based on his criminal history, including convictions for assault and domestic violence coercion. Samantha Swindler,, "Homicide detectives investigating suspicious death in NE Portland," 11 June 2018 The move was widely seen as Saudi coercion, although Hariri denies stepping down against his will and has since reversed his resignation. Washington Post, "Hezbollah set to tighten grip in Lebanon vote," 6 May 2018 Some of those regulators have developed a novel argument: data coercion. New York Times, "European Regulators Ask if Facebook Is Taking Too Much Data," 24 Apr. 2018 Velayati reaffirmed Iran's firm intention to maintain its presence in Syria, but skirted a question about a possible pullback from the border, saying only that Tehran won't bow to U.S. and Israeli coercion. Vladimir Isachenkov, Fox News, "Iran has no intention to leave Syria, top official says," 13 July 2018 The exercise smacked of retribution and coercion, since the Hammonds remain one of the last private ranching families in the Harney Basin. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Worthy Pardon for the Hammonds," 10 July 2018 Vietnamese authorities have been known to parade accused criminals in public confessions, sometimes by coercion or in exchange for more lenient sentences. Time, "U.S. Citizen Detained in Vietnam Makes Public Apology," 20 June 2018 Ziegler counters that adults have reasoning and children are subject to coercion, but the kids fight back, saying that same thought process was used to keep women from voting. Tanya Wildt, Detroit Free Press, "Should Michigan kids vote? What 'The West Wing' had to say," 14 June 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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Statistics for coercion

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

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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 \

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

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