ex·​tort | \ ik-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce extort (audio) \
extorted; extorting; extorts

Definition of extort

transitive verb

: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : wring also : to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument

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Other Words from extort

extorter noun
extortive \ ik-​ˈstȯr-​tiv How to pronounce extortive (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for extort


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Choose the Right Synonym for extort

educe, evoke, elicit, extract, extort mean to draw out something hidden, latent, or reserved. educe implies the bringing out of something potential or latent. educed order out of chaos evoke implies a strong stimulus that arouses an emotion or an interest or recalls an image or memory. a song that evokes warm memories elicit usually implies some effort or skill in drawing forth a response. careful questioning elicited the truth extract implies the use of force or pressure in obtaining answers or information. extracted a confession from him extort suggests a wringing or wresting from one who resists strongly. extorted their cooperation by threatening to inform

Did You Know?

To extort is literally to wrench something out of someone. Extortion is a mainstay of organized crime. Just as the school bully extorts lunch money from the smaller kids in exchange for not beating them up, thugs extort "protection" money from business owners with threats of violence. But that's only one kind of extortion; a mobster might extort favors from a politician with threats of revealing some dark secret, just as you might extort a favor from a brother or sister by promising not to tell on them.

Examples of extort in a Sentence

The criminals extorted large sums of money from their victims. He was arrested for extorting bribes.
Recent Examples on the Web Federal prosecutors in Manhattan are investigating the alleged hack of Mr. Bezos’ phone and whether National Enquirer parent American Media Inc. attempted to extort Mr. Bezos. Joe Palazzolo, WSJ, "Jeff Bezos Sued for Defamation by Girlfriend’s Brother," 3 Feb. 2020 Mitch McConnell is not mad that Donald Trump tried to extort the Ukrainian government into helping him win reelection. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Gerth: McConnell isn't angry about corruption. He's mad Trump didn't warn him about Bolton," 27 Jan. 2020 In all the cases, some bad actor accessed indoor Ring cameras (not doorbells) and used them to harass, intimidate, or attempt to extort the residents. Kate Cox, Ars Technica, "Wave of Ring surveillance camera hacks tied to podcast, report finds," 12 Dec. 2019 Truitt refused to give Wright or Lemba the visa and attempted to extort money from the Wrights in exchange for the visa, the affidavit says. Andrew Clark, Indianapolis Star, "Man who brought teen from Congo to Southport High School arrested," 11 Dec. 2019 David Boies, Giuffre’s lawyer, said in an interview that no one involved in the Giuffre case ever attempted to extort money from Wexner, nor was any payment ever made. BostonGlobe.com, "‘‘The Epstein house was not on land owned by the Wexners, and was nearly one half mile away from the Wexner home,’’ he said. ‘‘The entrance to the Epstein residence was not through the Wexner gate.’’," 6 Oct. 2019 Samuel Styron, 66, was found guilty of bank fraud after attempting to extort money from Pen Air Federal Credit Union in Robertsdale, Alabama. Levi Edwards | Ledwards@al.com, al, "Foley man sentenced for using retirement account in bank fraud," 4 Oct. 2019 In addition, attorney Michael Avenatti, who has been accused of attempting to extort Nike, has argued that Williamson’s family was in communication with Nike officials while Williamson played in high school. Michael Mccann, SI.com, "The Technicality That Could Derail Zion Williamson's Lawsuit," 27 Sep. 2019 An employee allegedly cited false accusations of Wallace attempting to extort from other prisoners as a pretense for the transfer, according to court documents. Phil Davis, baltimoresun.com, "Jury awards former Baltimore inmate $25 million after brutal beating in jail that has since been shut down," 25 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extort.' 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 extort

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquēre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Time Traveler for extort

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for extort

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Extort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extort. Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for extort


How to pronounce extort (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of extort

: to get (something, such as money) from a person by the use of force or threats
ex·​tort | \ ik-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce extort (audio) \

Legal Definition of extort

: to obtain (as money) from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or unlawful use of authority or power

Other Words from extort

extorter noun
extortive \ -​ˈstȯr-​tiv How to pronounce extortive (audio) \ adjective

History and Etymology for extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquere to remove by twisting, obtain by force, from ex- out + torquere to twist

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More from Merriam-Webster on extort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with extort

Spanish Central: Translation of extort

Nglish: Translation of extort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extort for Arabic Speakers

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