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 extortion (audio) \ noun
extortionist \ ik-​ˈstȯr-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce extortion (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 No charges were ever brought against Fortier, who had denied those allegations and accused his son of extortion, according to the Review-Journal. Washington Post, "He was ‘Doctor of the Year’ for helping thousands of women get pregnant. But DNA tests unraveled a dark secret.," 1 Dec. 2020 Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost on Monday asked the Ohio Supreme Court to suspend Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor, who is facing felony charges of bribery, extortion, wire fraud, money laundering and other crimes. Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer, "Ohio attorney general moves to suspend Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Pastor, says allegations show a 'shocking lack to integrity'," 16 Nov. 2020 The family was forced to pay extortion money, and employees feared for their lives at viewings. Los Angeles Times, "For a border funeral home that survived the cartels, the coronavirus crisis is worse," 11 Dec. 2020 Kamensky is accused by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York of fraud and extortion while serving as co-chairman of the unsecured creditors committee in the Neiman Marcus Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Maria Halkias, Dallas News, "Neiman Marcus bankruptcy court Judge David Jones calls hedge fund manager a thief and a liar," 10 Dec. 2020 According to Mullah Yaqoob, tax revenues – which may also be considered extortion – bring in around $160 million annually. Hanif Sufizada, The Conversation, "The Taliban are megarich – here’s where they get the money they use to wage war in Afghanistan," 8 Dec. 2020 As a #QuidProQuo hashtag materialized, many wondering whether the president had openly admitted to a crime, reporters pointed out that this extortion scenario had been phrased as a hypothetical. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "ExxonMobil’s Real Quid Pro Quo With the Government," 21 Oct. 2020 Loverde pleaded guilty to his role in the extortion scheme in January. Jean Marbella, baltimoresun.com, "Former Baltimore DPW supervisor guilty of using city staff for private jobs," 28 Aug. 2020 Dennard resigned from the council in March following her February arrest regarding charges of extortion and bribery. Tyler Van Dyke, Washington Examiner, "Third Cincinnati City Council member arrested on bribery charges," 19 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for extortion

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

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Statistics for extortion

Last Updated

6 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extortion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extortion. Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for extortion


How to pronounce extortion (audio)

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 extortion (audio) \ adjective
extortioner noun
extortionist \ -​shə-​nist How to pronounce extortion (audio) \ noun

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