extort

verb
ex·​tort | \ ik-ˈstȯrt \
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 \ adjective

Synonyms for extort

Synonyms

exact, wrest, wring

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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

Faramarz Shahi Savandi and Mohammed Mehdi Shah Mansouri are accused of using the Samsam ransomware to encrypt files on 3,789 City of Atlanta computers, including servers and workstations, in an attempt to extort Bitcoin from Atlanta officials. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Iranians indicted in Atlanta city government ransomware attack," 5 Dec. 2018 The Wall Street Journal previously reported that cyberthieves struck more than three dozen schools systems from Georgia to California last year, stealing paychecks and data, or taking over computer networks to extort money. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Audit Says State Education Department Must Do More to Prevent Hacks of Student Data," 1 Dec. 2018 For these deportees, home is a neighborhood ruled by murderous gangs who extort money and demand that young men join their ranks — killing those who refuse to obey. Fox News, "No going home for many Hondurans deported back to brutality," 30 Aug. 2018 Argento also accuses Bennett of using her to extort money from her boyfriend, the late Anthony Bourdain. Anna North, Vox, "Asia Argento’s response to sexual assault allegations is hugely troubling. #MeToo survivors deserve better.," 22 Aug. 2018 Father Jesus Mendoza, a priest, says some of his colleagues get extorted, and gangs have stolen church bells from some parishes to sell for the copper. David Luhnow, WSJ, "Latin America Is the Murder Capital of the World," 20 Sep. 2018 Hope) on Facebook, Faith asks her sister to meet at their old camp in Michigan and attempts to extort her for a million dollars. Patti Greco, Glamour, "17 Bonkers Things Blake Lively Says and Does in Her New Movie A Simple Favor," 16 Sep. 2018 In a new court filing submitted last week, federal prosecutors said that a criminal defendant accused of attempting to extort Facebook itself has now been arrested in Ecuador. Cyrus Farivar, Ars Technica, "Alleged Facebook scammer arrested in Ecuador, will resist extradition," 28 Aug. 2018 And on Tuesday, reacting to reports that Meadows had drafted articles of impeachment to use against him if needed, Rosenstein declared that the Justice Department would not be extorted. Author: Eileen Sullivan, Nicholas Fandos, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump assails Justice Department, siding with House conservatives in dispute," 3 May 2018

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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Statistics for extort

Last Updated

12 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for extort

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

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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 \

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 \ 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with extort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extort

Spanish Central: Translation of extort

Nglish: Translation of extort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on extort

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