ex·​tor·​tion | \ ik-ˈstȯr-shən How to pronounce extortion (audio) \

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 How to pronounce extortioner (audio) \ noun
extortionist \ ik-​ˈstȯr-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce extortionist (audio) \ 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

And in another case, a man convicted in 1995 of mail fraud, extortion and fixing union elections had also worked as a government informant. Katie Benner, New York Times, "Pardon System Needs Fixing, Advocates Say, but They Cringe at Trump’s Approach," 1 June 2018 And for those fleeing gang extortions at work or gang recruitment at school, employment and education can’t be separated from the threat of violence. Rachel Schwartz, Washington Post, "Why are so many children coming to the U.S. from Central America in the first place?," 29 June 2018 The threat amounted to extortion, Moradi’s filing alleged. Morgan Cook, sandiegouniontribune.com, "La Jolla jeweler being sued by football great Drew Brees says Brees acknowledged being 'cash poor'," 27 June 2018 Young people and families fleeing El Salvador today are escaping gang violence, recruitment, extortion, and possible death. Estefani Alarcon, Teen Vogue, "How MS-13 Pushes Families Out of Central America," 28 Feb. 2018 But a court years earlier had already thrown out a lawsuit filed by Grassi accusing Gabriel of extortion. Fox News, "Pope role in study of Argentine sex abuse case in spotlight," 18 Sep. 2018 In 2015, the Honduran newspaper La Prensa revealed that citizens of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala were collectively making more than $651 million in extortion payments to criminal organizations annually. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "We Owe Central American Migrants Much More Than This," 21 June 2018 Instead, the Spencers became convinced that Gersh's offer to sell the property was part of an extortion attempt to use the threat of protests to force Spencer to sell her property for below-market rates. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Judge rejects neo-Nazi’s First Amendment argument in harassment case," 15 Nov. 2018 Yet that was all undone by the scandal involving a close confidant and bribery, extortion and other allegations. Hyung-jin Kim And Kim Tong-hyung, chicagotribune.com, "Disgraced South Korean ex-president gets 24-years in prison for massive corruption scandal," 6 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

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce extortion (audio) \

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 How to pronounce extortionate (audio) \ adjective
extortioner noun
extortionist \ -​shə-​nist How to pronounce extortionist (audio) \ 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 mark by some ceremony or observation

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