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

Katie Hall was convicted of mail fraud, extortion and racketeering after making employees raise money for her re-election campaign in order to keep their jobs. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Hammond federal judge Rudy Lozano, 76, dies," 13 July 2018 Now, smugglers, known as polleros, charge $7,000-$10,000, and migrants face extortion and kidnapping by Mexican gangs and deportation by the U.S. government. Jim Wyss, miamiherald, "U.S. immigration hard-line spurs some would-be migrants in Honduras to think twice," 8 July 2018 Cochran, 65, was charged in December 2016 on 11 counts of wire fraud and two counts each of extortion and bribery. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Judge denies motion to drop bribery, extortion charges against Ald. Cochran," 14 June 2018 Pike and Portillo looked disappointed upon hearing they were convicted of crimes that include racketeering conspiracy, murder, extortion and drug dealing (or aiding and abetting those activities). Elizabeth Zavala, San Antonio Express-News, "Jury convicts former top Bandidos leaders of all charges at racketeering trial," 17 May 2018 Hobbs Act charges refer to robbery or extortion crimes that affect interstate or foreign commerce. Diana Samuels, NOLA.com, "Leader of New Orleans 'robbery gang' sentenced for murdering federal witness," 8 Mar. 2018 Guerrero security spokesman Roberto Alvarez said the stores’ owners had refused extortion demands from a local splinter of La Familia cartel and the looting was punishment for not paying. Washington Post, "In Mexico, rising ‘mass crime’ defies security forces," 27 June 2018 By flipping for the feds, Starks avoided the risk of going to trial and being convicted of an initial extortion conspiracy that carried up to 20 years in prison. Jay Weaver, miamiherald, "Opa-locka fixer Dante Starks pleads guilty, may implicate top politicians," 25 June 2018 This month, for example, a city on the other side of the mountains in Guerrero saw its local PepsiCo distribution plant close because of gang extortion demands — just months after the Coca Cola plant there closed for the same reason. Mark Stevenson, Fox News, "Mexico opium poppy growers see price drop, turn to marijuana," 22 June 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

6 Oct 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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