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 In many cases, the victims refuse that extortion, and the cybercriminals follow through on their threat. Andy Greenberg, Wired, "Anti-Secrecy Activists Publish a Trove of Ransomware Victims' Data," 6 Jan. 2021 The State Department accused Iran of threatening navigation freedoms in the Persian Gulf and trying to use extortion to get relief from economic sanctions. NBC News, "Iran tries to increase its leverage in future negotiations with President-elect Biden," 5 Jan. 2021 Additionally, Trump’s apparent threat of criminal consequences if Raffensperger failed to act could be seen as an attempt at extortion, The Post reported. Washington Post, "In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor," 3 Jan. 2021 Cartels have also diversified into widespread extortion of small businesses across Mexico. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexico Set to Become World’s Largest Legal Cannabis Market," 29 Dec. 2020 Sterling, who worked as a lawyer for a congressional committee that wrote some of the drug laws in the 1980s, said khat investigations would be justified if there was evidence of violence, extortion or other crimes. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "North Texas trial looms for men accused of smuggling chewable East African plant," 4 Dec. 2020 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

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for extortion

Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Extortion.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/extortion. Accessed 21 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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