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 Under federal law, slavery is defined, in part, by the use of coercion, torture, starvation, imprisonment, threats, and psychological abuse. Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker, 9 Aug. 2021 Control, content removal or promotion, algorithm refinement, and the like are not coercion or censorship, but rather exercises of the free speech of the businesses that own the platforms themselves. Jessica Melugin, National Review, 6 Aug. 2021 Conservatorships don’t take into account coercion, power dynamics, emotional manipulation. Billboard, 5 Aug. 2021 Rather than freely giving up to adversary objectives, these actors have endured decades of coercion and keep resisting. CNN, 25 Aug. 2021 Those who have taken loans via these apps have also reported rampant misuse of personal data and fraudulent and unlawful practices of physical threats and other forms of coercion for the recovery of loans. Ananya Bhattacharya, Quartz, 29 July 2021 Bakunin’s solution to the risk of coercion by scientists was to lessen their authority without diminishing the value of scientific knowledge. Michael Locke Mclendon, The Conversation, 21 July 2021 As Stefani plays the classic white woman in distress card, which people of colour have been conditioned to feel obligated to help and save, Zola consistently falls into her trap of coercion masquerading as naivety. Kathleen Newman-bremang,, 30 June 2021 The 1989 conviction Trutenko obtained was thrown out in 2018, after Cook County Judge William Hooks ruled that Wilson’s confession was the product of coercion. Megan Crepeau,, 30 June 2021

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

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Coercion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on coercion

Nglish: Translation of coercion for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of coercion for Arabic Speakers


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