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 extortive (audio) \ 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

Meanwhile, migrant shelters on the Mexico side are overflowing, and in places like Tamaulipas state, where Matamoros is located, cartels and gangs known to extort, kidnap and murder migrants are a major threat. Marcos Alemán, Twin Cities, "‘They died in each other’s arms,’ migrant’s mother says," 26 June 2019 Meanwhile, migrant shelters on the Mexico side are overflowing, and in places like Tamaulipas state, where Matamoros is located, cartels and gangs known to extort, kidnap and murder migrants are a major threat. Marcos Alemán, Peter Orsi, Anchorage Daily News, "‘They died in each other’s arms’: Mother of migrant found drowned with daughter says family dreamed of saving money for a home," 26 June 2019 North was ousted from his post as president of the board in April after LaPierre accused him of attempting to extort him and the organization. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "A look inside the finances of the NRA," 14 June 2019 Mijango, a former leftist guerrilla commander during El Salvador’s civil war, had been charged with conspiring with gang members to extort a food distribution company. Daniel Castro, Harper's magazine, "The Truce," 10 June 2019 Idumwonyi also extorted pills from the clinic’s own patients, acquiring hundreds of the Oxycodone pills to feed his girlfriend’s opioid addiction, according to the government. oregonlive.com, "Man who recruited patients from Narcotics Anonymous to buy Oxycodone at Portland ‘pill mill’ gets 9 years in prison," 3 June 2019 Business owners crave transparent rules and predictability but often face being extorted for bribes by corrupt officials, an intractable problem in Ukraine. Mstyslav Chernov, The Seattle Times, "Ukrainian workers, seeing little hope at home, head abroad," 25 Mar. 2019 Our introduction to both takes place in the front seat of a police car, where Erica is enthusiastically pleasuring the uniformed driver before extorting cash for her silence. Jeannette Catsoulis, New York Times, "Review: Teenage Kicks Go Too Far in ‘Flower’," 15 Mar. 2018 In 2012, Mijango mediated a negotiation between Arrocera San Francisco, a food distribution company, and the gangs who were extorting it. Daniel Castro, Harper's magazine, "The Truce," 10 June 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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Statistics for extort

Last Updated

13 Jul 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 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

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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