ex·​tor·​tion | \ik-ˈstȯr-shən \

Definition of extortion 

1 : the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property especially : the offense committed by an official engaging in such practice

2 : something extorted especially : a gross overcharge

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Other Words from extortion

extortioner \ik-​ˈstȯr-​sh(ə-​)nər \ noun
extortionist \ik-​ˈstȯr-​sh(ə-​)nist \ noun

Examples of extortion in a Sentence

He was arrested and charged with extortion. six dollars for a cup of coffee is just plain extortion

Recent Examples on the Web

Federal prosecutors released a 44-count indictment Wednesday charging Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox and associate Paige Carter-Smith with bribery, racketeering, bank fraud, extortion and other crimes. Brendan Farrington, The Seattle Times, "FBI probe leads to charges against Florida city commissioner," 12 Dec. 2018 Early last year, Apple sued Qualcomm in the United States and in China, accusing the company of extortion and anticompetitive conduct in its negotiations over patent licensing. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Qualcomm says a Chinese court has banned sales of older iPhones nationwide," 10 Dec. 2018 Bronfman is charged with money laundering, extortion and other crimes in connection with the Albany-area group, which is accused of keeping and branding a harem of women for leader Keith Raniere to bed. Fox News, "Seagram's heiress wants more freedom after Nxivm house arrest," 27 Sep. 2018 The weeks-long journey is often dangerous — migrants are subjected to rape, extortion, and sometimes violence by smugglers (or by Mexicans who lie in wait for migrants to come their way). Dara Lind, Vox, "Migrant caravans, Trump’s latest immigration obsession, explained," 6 Apr. 2018 But the closure of the Chernobyl power plant and the construction of the new shelter is more than just a story of nuclear extortion of funds by a poor country from rich ones. Serhii Plokhy, Time, "The True Cost of the Chernobyl Disaster Has Been Greater Than It Seems," 26 Apr. 2018 Last September, the First Circuit Court ruled that two Teamsters from Massachusetts, John Perry and Joseph Burhoe, could not be convicted of extortion under the Hobbs Act. Milton J. Valencia, BostonGlobe.com, "A case is dismissed, and the cloud that loomed over Walsh dissolves," 23 Mar. 2018 The 47-year-old disgraced mayor is serving a 28-year prison sentence for two-dozen felonies, including racketeering, extortion and wire fraud. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Kwame Kilpatrick asks President Trump for mercy," 12 June 2018 In other areas of northern Mexico, such as Nuevo Laredo in the state of Tamaulipas, criminal groups systematically prey on migrants through extortion and kidnapping rings. Sandra Dibble, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Seeking asylum, Central American migrants await fate as they approach Tijuana border," 22 Apr. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for extortion

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for extortion

The first known use of extortion was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of extortion

: the crime of getting money from someone by the use of force or threats


ex·​tor·​tion | \ik-ˈstȯr-shən \

Legal Definition of extortion 

1 : the act or practice of extorting especially money or other property specifically : the act or practice of extorting by a public official acting under color of office

2 : the crime of extorting

Other Words from extortion

extortionate \-​shə-​nət \ adjective
extortioner noun
extortionist \-​shə-​nist \ noun

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Comments on extortion

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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