co·​er·​cion kō-ˈər-zhən How to pronounce coercion (audio)
: the act, process, or power of coercing
They used coercion to obtain the confession.

Example Sentences

a promise obtained by coercion is never binding
Recent Examples on the Web Speaking aboard a Philippine coast guard vessel docked at the island of Palawan, Ms. Harris warned against coercion and pledged $7.5 million in new funding to support the Philippines’ maritime law-enforcement agencies. Feliz Solomon, WSJ, 22 Nov. 2022 To some degree, yes, coercion and messaging involved. CBS News, 9 Nov. 2022 Republicans criticized Navarro for a felony marijuana and coercion conviction in 2011 that netted him an 18-month prison sentence. oregonlive, 8 Nov. 2022 Through a mixture of stifling regulations and outright coercion, Beijing wiped out billions of dollars of equity in the blink of an eye. Firmin Debrabander, The New Republic, 7 Nov. 2022 It is undergirded by coercion, creating a framework or model. Charlotta Stern, National Review, 25 July 2022 Uprisings in the recent past that captured global attention were crushed by a state well-versed in the instruments of coercion. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2022 Justin Washington, a 25-year-old Bronx man, was accused of first-degree rape in February and pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of coercion in the second degree on Aug. 18, court records show. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 23 Sep. 2022 North Carolina native Adams enters with Onyx, a project that centers on an underground intelligence agency that combats the injustices against Black people using disguises, fake identities and coercion tactics. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near coercion

Cite this Entry

“Coercion.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Legal Definition


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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.