extort

verb
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 extort (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for extort

Synonyms

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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 Gaetz has denied the allegations, saying a former Air Force intelligence officer tried to extort his father, former Florida Senate President Don Gaetz. Annie Martin, orlandosentinel.com, "Matt Gaetz speaks at pro-Trump women’s group event in Doral: I’m ‘not going anywhere’," 10 Apr. 2021 The fifth episode of THEM opens on a flashback that serves to demonstrate how businesses used predatory lending schemes to extort Black homebuyers. Megan Mccluskey, Time, "'Haunted Countries Deserve Haunted Stories.' How America's History of Racial Housing Discrimination Inspired Amazon's New Horror Series THEM," 9 Apr. 2021 And your every concession just emboldens the Left to extort the next concession. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "Major League Baseball and the Voting-Rights Con," 3 Apr. 2021 But the Trump Federal Communications Commission unleashed private broadband investment by liberating providers from Obama net neutrality rules, streamlining regulations and limiting how much cities could extort them to install 5G sites. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Biden Defines Infrastructure Down," 1 Apr. 2021 Sometimes, migrants are kidnapped to extort money from their relatives in the U.S. Karol Suarez, USA TODAY, "He fled Guatemala looking for a better life. But he and 18 others were killed en route to the US.," 2 Mar. 2021 Sometimes, migrants are kidnapped to extort money from their relatives in the U.S. Karol Suarez, The Courier-Journal, "He fled Guatemala for a better life in the US. Instead, he found despair and death in Mexico," 27 Feb. 2021 After being turned back at the border March 2, he was robbed and beaten several times by Mexican police officer who tried to extort money from him, according to his lawyer at Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Paulina Reyes. BostonGlobe.com, "Biden takes on Trump’s migrant policies, and confusion reigns at the border," 23 Feb. 2021 After being turned back at the border on March 2, 2020, he was robbed and beaten several times by Mexican police officers who tried to extort money from him, according to his lawyer at Immigrant Defenders Law Center, Paulina Reyes. New York Times, "Biden Takes On Trump’s Migrant Policies and Confusion Reigns at the Border," 23 Feb. 2021

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

12 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extort.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extort. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for extort

extort

verb

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 extort (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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Comments on extort

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