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

For the moment, then, Nike is playing the victim of an extortion attempt. oregonlive, "A federal investigation into Nike? Just do it: Steve Duin," 8 Sep. 2019 Within hours of the extortion case breaking, CNN cut ties with him. Christopher Weber, The Seattle Times, "Celebrity lawyer Geragos linked to Avenatti extortion case," 26 Mar. 2019 To threaten a 17% property tax hike if voters reject the trash ordinance is shameless extortion. Letter Writers, Twin Cities, "Letters: FYI to new students: This state needs better accountants," 1 Sep. 2019 LaPierre accused North and NRA's top lobbyist Chris Cox of extortion at the time. Emily Tillett, CBS News, "Fourth NRA board director resigns as turmoil ravages organization," 13 Aug. 2019 David Nunez-Hernandez, 29, is charged with two counts of extortion, aggravated motor vehicle theft and five weapons charges, according to court records. Mitchell Byars, The Denver Post, "Adams County man accused of extorting Boulder County couple with stolen items," 12 Aug. 2019 Spaulding, 47, is charged with battery and extortion. Bethany Freudenthal, USA TODAY, "Man accused of force-feeding meth to cat used kitten in extortion attempt, court docs show," 27 Aug. 2019 According to Newsweek, hackers have in recent years adopted ransomware attacks as a preferred extortion method, especially among municipal entities. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "20 Texas jurisdictions hit by coordinated ransomware attack, state says," 17 Aug. 2019 After a seven-day trial, Sean Patrick Melody was convicted of two counts of kidnapping for extortion, three counts of grand theft of a firearm and one count of grand theft of personal property, according to the district attorney’s office. Maggie Angst, The Mercury News, "51-year-old man convicted of violent 2009 kidnapping and home invasion in Marina," 26 July 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

7 Oct 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).


a topic to which one constantly reverts

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