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

Some face persecution and extortion, and most will show up to court without a lawyer. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "U.S. begins returning asylum seekers at Laredo crossing, expanding "Remain in Mexico"," 9 July 2019 Khalil Ewais pleaded guilty last week to Hobbs Act extortion, bribery and other charges. Eric Heisig, cleveland.com, "Brother of city of Cleveland engineer charged in corruption probe admits to federal tax charges," 9 July 2019 Most Tripolitanians want a government able to collect the rubbish and an end to the militias’ extortion, their pilfering of the central bank and turf wars in the capital. The Economist, "A warlord’s offensive against Tripoli is flagging," 3 July 2019 He was convicted of receiving a bribe, conspiracy to commit first-degree larceny by extortion, conspiring to fabricate evidence and other charges in 2010. courant.com, "Welcome to Corrupticut: A look back at the history of corrupt politicians in Connecticut," 25 June 2019 The Treasury Department has accused Deripaska of involvement in money laundering, extortion, and, on at least one occasion, murder. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Administration Eases Sanctions on Russian Metal Giant," 23 Apr. 2018 Investigators sometimes charge the offense as telecommunication harassment, child pornography or even extortion, but that is difficult to prove. Jessie Balmert, Cincinnati.com, "Revenge porn: Ohio Democrat wants to punish offenders who post nude pics without consent," 18 Jan. 2018 Perhaps some have not paid attention to the tales of rape, torture, executions and extortion at the hands of violent gangs that have taken over large swaths Martinez’ country. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Column: The drowning of father and daughter crossing the Rio Grande shows migrants’ desperation for asylum, and U.S. determination not to grant it.," 26 June 2019 The fear is that such videos could spark a war, sway an election, or be used for extortion. Danielle Abril, Fortune, "Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook is Working on a Policy for Policing Deepfake Videos," 26 June 2019

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

14 Jul 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).


appealing forcibly to the mind or reason

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