rack·e·teer | \ˌra-kə-ˈtir \

Definition of racketeer 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: one who obtains money by an illegal enterprise usually involving intimidation


racketeered; racketeering; racketeers

Definition of racketeer (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to carry on a racket

transitive verb

: to extort money from

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for racketeer

Synonyms: Noun

blackmailer, extortioner, extortionist

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of racketeer in a Sentence


the racketeer threatened to have his thugs vandalize the shop if the shopkeeper didn't pay him a monthly bribe

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Its triad of main characters consists of Eddie Kerrigan, a bagman for a penny-ante racketeer; his charismatic daughter Anna; and Dexter Styles, a dapper nightclub owner and a big cheese in a major crime syndicate. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "The Best New Fiction," 29 Sep. 2017 Its triad of main characters consists of Eddie Kerrigan, a bagman for a penny-ante racketeer Sam Sacks, WSJ, "The Best New Fiction," 29 Sep. 2017 And whatever remote chance there was that the crisis could be calmed by talking it out vanished when a federal grand jury in Miami indicted Noriega as a drug racketeer. Glenn Garvin, miamiherald, "Former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega is dead," 30 May 2017 At upper left is Mike Elliott, whose campaign for Multnomah County sheriff would be financed by gambling racketeers. OregonLive.com, "Portland gloried in its sexy, secret gambling dens in the 1930s: Take our walking tour," 23 May 2017 Yet amid all the transformation, some investigators say, racketeers and mobsters are still as present as the barnacles attached to the piers. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "Along New York Harbor, ‘On the Waterfront’ Endures," 6 Jan. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Among the allegations are racketeering, witness tampering, mail and wire fraud, assault, civil battery, negligent supervision and retention and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Harvey Weinstein hit with rape allegation in new lawsuit," 1 June 2018 Jenkins, the task force supervisor, was sentenced last month to 25 years in prison after pleading guilty to racketeering charges. Justin Fenton, baltimoresun.com, "Federal prosecutors seek release of admitted drug dealer in more Gun Trace Task Force fallout," 5 July 2018 Martinez faces up to life behind bars after pleading guilty in December to racketeering charges in connection with the killing. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "MS-13 gang member bragged about killing teen. He did it to stay alive, defense lawyer says | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 They and the other four — Duavon Spears, Antwan Davis, Clifton Lemon and Ulysses Polk — were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy and drug conspiracy. Rosemary Sobol, chicagotribune.com, "Life in prison for Black Souls gang leaders convicted in Cook County's first test of state RICO law," 1 June 2018 Nickerson, along with Master, previously pled guilty to racketeering charges in 2012. Hanna Krueger, NOLA.com, "NOPD arrests 3rd suspect in shooting of 16-year-old in 7th Ward," 24 May 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 All three were found guilty of racketeering conspiracy Thursday, nearly a full day after the jury began deliberating. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "Top Bloods gang members sat on trial for two weeks in Charlotte. All were found guilty. | Charlotte Observer," 17 May 2018 In March, the Department of Justice announced that 35 members of the Nine Trey Gangsters pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other charges. Jane Wester, charlotteobserver, "Jurors study Bloods' code, gang hierarchy on first day of accused Godfather's trial | Charlotte Observer," 3 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'racketeer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of racketeer


1924, in the meaning defined above


1928, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about racketeer

Dictionary Entries near racketeer

rack car

racked rubber






Statistics for racketeer

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for racketeer

The first known use of racketeer was in 1924

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for racketeer



English Language Learners Definition of racketeer

: a person who makes money through illegal activities


rack·e·teer | \ˌra-kə-ˈtir \

Kids Definition of racketeer

: a person who gets money or advantages by using force or threats


rack·e·teer | \ˌra-kə-ˈtir \

Legal Definition of racketeer 

: one that engages in racketeering

Other Words from racketeer

racketeer verb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on racketeer

What made you want to look up racketeer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!