ex·​tort | \ ik-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce extort (audio) \
extorted; extorting; extorts

Definition of extort

transitive verb

: to obtain from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or illegal power : wring also : to gain especially by ingenuity or compelling argument

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Other Words from extort

extorter noun
extortive \ ik-​ˈstȯr-​tiv How to pronounce extortive (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for extort


exact, wrest, wring

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Choose the Right Synonym for extort

educe, evoke, elicit, extract, extort mean to draw out something hidden, latent, or reserved. educe implies the bringing out of something potential or latent. educed order out of chaos evoke implies a strong stimulus that arouses an emotion or an interest or recalls an image or memory. a song that evokes warm memories elicit usually implies some effort or skill in drawing forth a response. careful questioning elicited the truth extract implies the use of force or pressure in obtaining answers or information. extracted a confession from him extort suggests a wringing or wresting from one who resists strongly. extorted their cooperation by threatening to inform

Did You Know?

To extort is literally to wrench something out of someone. Extortion is a mainstay of organized crime. Just as the school bully extorts lunch money from the smaller kids in exchange for not beating them up, thugs extort "protection" money from business owners with threats of violence. But that's only one kind of extortion; a mobster might extort favors from a politician with threats of revealing some dark secret, just as you might extort a favor from a brother or sister by promising not to tell on them.

Examples of extort in a Sentence

The criminals extorted large sums of money from their victims. He was arrested for extorting bribes.

Recent Examples on the Web

Hart’s former friend Jonathan Todd Jackson was arrested and charged with extortion, but has denied ever extorting Hart. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Kevin Hart Sued for $60 Million by Woman at Center of Alleged Sex Extortion Scandal," 16 Sep. 2019 At about the same time, news hit that Avenatti had been arrested and charged with attempting to extorting Nike. oregonlive, "Bad blood, betrayal turns L.A. coach into Nike whistleblower," 7 Sep. 2019 The letter also said an investigation will continue into allegations that North sought to extort LaPierre and that the storied Marine veteran was aided by Cox, a claim first laid out in a lawsuit filed June 19. Lisa Marie Pane, Anchorage Daily News, "NRA splits with PR firm, lobbyist and TV amid chaos at gun rights organization," 27 June 2019 Correia, who was arrested Sept. 6 for the second time in a year, has been accused of extorting four marijuana companies by refusing to issue them local approval letters unless the vendors paid up. BostonGlobe.com, "The local approval process, which often leaves the fate of a marijuana company in the hands of a single municipal leader, has been," 17 Sep. 2019 Gang members have seen them as easy pickings and have kidnapped some migrants to extort them and their families for cash. Silvia Foster-frau, ExpressNews.com, "New Texas courts open for migrants forced to stay in Mexico," 12 Sep. 2019 Hadid is countersuing the neighbors, alleging that one tried to extort him. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, "Did this celebrity developer perform his community service? Neighbors aren’t so sure," 24 Aug. 2019 To hack their accounts in a bid to extort them for nude selfies. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "How to Catch a Cyber Sextortionist," 25 June 2019 Avenatti has been charged by federal prosecutors with trying to extort upwards of $20 million from Nike. al, "Nike paid associates of Bol Bol, Deandre Ayton and Brandon McCoy, Michael Avenatti claims in Final Four document dump," 6 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'extort.' 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 extort

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquēre to wrench out, extort, from ex- + torquēre to twist — more at torture entry 1

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Statistics for extort

Last Updated

5 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for extort

The first known use of extort was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for extort



English Language Learners Definition of extort

: to get (something, such as money) from a person by the use of force or threats
ex·​tort | \ ik-ˈstȯrt How to pronounce extort (audio) \

Legal Definition of extort

: to obtain (as money) from a person by force, intimidation, or undue or unlawful use of authority or power

Other Words from extort

extorter noun
extortive \ -​ˈstȯr-​tiv How to pronounce extortive (audio) \ adjective

History and Etymology for extort

Latin extortus, past participle of extorquere to remove by twisting, obtain by force, from ex- out + torquere to twist

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More from Merriam-Webster on extort

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with extort

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for extort

Spanish Central: Translation of extort

Nglish: Translation of extort for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of extort for Arabic Speakers

Comments on extort

What made you want to look up extort? 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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