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

At one point, former boxing champ Abe Attell, a bagman for New York City racketeer Arnold Rothstein, waved $1,000 bills in the Sinton’s lobby while soliciting bets on the Reds. Katherine Rodeghier, chicagotribune.com, "From scandals to milestones, an expanded museum and tours celebrate 150 years of baseball in Cincinnati," 12 June 2019 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

Singer pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other crimes in March when the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts revealed charges against 50 people in a case that rocked the college admissions world. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "California businessman who paid $450,000 to get kids into USC pleads guilty," 21 June 2019 Chuck Blazer, the former FIFA official and American football executive, pled guilty to charges including racketeering conspiracy and money laundering and agreed to cooperate with the probe in exchange for leniency. Marlo Safi, National Review, "The Beautiful, Corrupt Game," 20 June 2019 Nxivm bookkeeper Kathy Russell pleaded guilty to one count of visa fraud, and Nxivm CEO Nancy Salzman pleaded guilty to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Sonia Moghe, CNN, "Nxivm trial testimony ends with video of founder discussing child sex abuse," 14 June 2019 Vandemoer pleaded guilty in March to one count of racketeering conspiracy. Fox News, "Ex-Stanford sailing coach avoids prison time in college admissions scandal," 13 June 2019 On Wednesday, a former Stanford University sailing coach caught in the scheme, John Vandemoer, was sentenced in Boston to one day of prison for racketeering conspiracy. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "Bribery scandal points to the athletic factor: A major force in college admissions," 12 June 2019 Vandemoer pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy in March. Matthew Ormseth, latimes.com, "College admissions scandal shows ‘sacrifice matters less than money,’ prosecutors say," 8 June 2019 Former Stanford sailing coach John Vandemoer, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy, is scheduled to be sentenced June 12. nola.com, "Payments to elite colleges were donations, not bribes, attorneys say," 4 June 2019 As a result of the FBI investigation, Singer was charged with one count each of racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, conspiracy to defraud the United States, and obstruction of justice, according to the New York Times. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Who Is William Singer, the Man at the Center of the College Admissions Fraud Scandal?," 13 Mar. 2019

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

Last Updated

26 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for racketeer

The first known use of racketeer was in 1924

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More Definitions for racketeer



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).


having a desire to acquire more things

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