rack·​e·​teer | \ ˌra-kə-ˈtir How to pronounce racketeer (audio) \

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

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Synonyms for racketeer

Synonyms: Noun

blackmailer, extortioner, extortionist

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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

Clare Bronfman, Kathy Russell, Lauren Salzman and Nancy Salzman were arrested on a superseding indictment charging them with racketeering conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced Tuesday. Tyler Mccarthy, Fox News, "Seagram's heiress nabbed in NXIVM sex cult arrests; 'Smallville' star Allison Mack faces more charges," 24 July 2018 Pike and Portillo are also charged with murder and use of a firearm in the aid of racketeering murder of the 2006 shooting of purported Hells Angels member Anthony Benesh. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, "Feds: Bandidos are “the mafia on two wheels”," 14 May 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of racketeer


1924, in the meaning defined above


1928, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

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Dictionary Entries near racketeer

rack car

racked rubber






Statistics for racketeer

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Time Traveler for racketeer

The first known use of racketeer was in 1924

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English Language Learners Definition of racketeer

: a person who makes money through illegal activities


rack·​e·​teer | \ ˌra-kə-ˈtir How to pronounce racketeer (audio) \

Kids Definition of racketeer

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


rack·​e·​teer | \ ˌra-kə-ˈtir How to pronounce racketeer (audio) \

Legal Definition of racketeer

: one that engages in racketeering

Other Words from racketeer

racketeer verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on racketeer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with racketeer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for racketeer

Spanish Central: Translation of racketeer

Nglish: Translation of racketeer for Spanish Speakers

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).


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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