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

The Fifties brainwashing panic was a response to Stalin’s show trials, ideological coercion in Mao’s China, and, above all, defecting American soldiers in Korea. Christopher Tayler, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 19 Aug. 2019 Muhaxheri found a tribesman who, under coercion, admitted to killing two Albanians with a grenade launcher. The Economist, "Confessions of an Islamic State fighter," 16 Aug. 2019 In Vietnam, Belarus, Egypt and elsewhere, resilient tyrants rule through police monitoring, ethnic division and brute coercion. New York Times, "Democracy in Crisis," 15 June 2019 America was founded on liberty and independence — not government coercion, domination and control. NBC News, "Bernie Sanders defends democratic socialist label in speech touting 'economic Bill of Rights'," 12 June 2019 Payton quickly recanted, claiming coercion by police. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "Notorious Michigan serial killers: Who were they?," 10 May 2018 The contracts aren’t guaranteed, there’s coercion to play injured, there are reputations at stake. Ann Killion,, "49ers find themselves in an unfamiliar position this season," 25 July 2019 Laird was initially charged with first-degree kidnapping, second-degree assault, coercion, tampering with evidence, conspiracy and other charges related to the Feb. 18, 2017 incident. David Owens,, "Former state trooper faces eight years in prison after pleading no contest to beating, torturing man in Wethersfield," 10 July 2019 Under the terms of a plea agreement negotiated by prosecutor Donna Mambrino and defense attorney William Gerace, Pines pleaded guilty to first-degree larceny, third-degree assault and coercion. David Owens,, "Enfield man faces prison after pleading guilty to coercing, assaulting former girlfriend," 2 Aug. 2019

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

17 Sep 2019

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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

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


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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