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

The downside: Targets sometimes file lawsuits claiming extortion. Michael Finnegan, latimes.com, "Trump sex scandals turn a harsh spotlight on this Beverly Hills lawyer," 20 Apr. 2018 In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Skipper revealed that he was embroiled in a cocaine extortion plot. Houston Chronicle, "Report: ESPN president John Skipper resigned over cocaine extortion plot," 15 Mar. 2018 The August indictment includes two counts of child pornography as well as stalking and extortion of one teenage girl. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "A Man Allegedly Forced Hundreds of Teens to Send Him Nude Photos on Social Media," 6 Sep. 2018 Boston police on Tuesday warned elderly residents to watch out for callers posing as Internal Revenue Service agents following a rash of phone extortion scam reports. Alana Levene, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston police warn of phone scams targeting elderly residents," 9 May 2018 Photo: Ahmed Deeb for The Wall Street Journal But roadside extortion is still booming. Raja Abdulrahim, WSJ, "‘They’re All Thieves’: Navigating Syria’s Checkpoint Shakedowns," 23 Dec. 2018 These extortion efforts being done lately on city development projects need to stop – or else the growth will. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: Pay no attention to anti-stadium noise. FC Cincinnati is moving forward," 12 May 2018 In 2011, a jury found Blagojevich guilty of the majority of 20 corruption charges, which included wire fraud, extortion, and bribery. Li Zhou, Vox, "Trump says he’ll consider commuting Rod Blagojevich’s sentence, pardoning Martha Stewart," 31 May 2018 And before the vote, the United States ordered sanctions against Diosdado Cabello, a top figure in Mr. Maduro’s party, accusing him of drug trafficking, extortion, money laundering and embezzling government money. New York Times, "Nicolás Maduro Expels Top U.S. Diplomats from Venezuela," 22 May 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

10 Mar 2019

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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 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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