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rack·​e·​teer ˌra-kə-ˈtir How to pronounce racketeer (audio)
: one who obtains money by an illegal enterprise usually involving intimidation


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racketeered; racketeering; racketeers

intransitive verb

: to carry on a racket

transitive verb

: to extort money from

Example Sentences

Noun 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
Meanwhile, a down-and-out racketeer (Will Arnett), who once headlined in his own Disney movie seven decades ago, has vowed to undermine the company that spat him out. Amy Nicholson, Variety, 17 May 2022 In 1981, Hastings was indicted on charges of conspiring to solicit a $150,000 bribe from an FBI agent posing as a racketeer trying to buy his way out of a prison sentence. Anthony Man, sun-sentinel.com, 6 Apr. 2021 After faking his own death, cunning racketeer Harry Lime (an ever-magnetic Orson Welles) tries to escape the authorities closing in on him by fleeing into the sewers. Alison Willmore, Vulture, 22 Feb. 2021 Israel Finkelstein’s vision of King David—the vagabond, the racketeer—helped make his career as an eminent Biblical archeologist. Ruth Margalit, The New Yorker, 22 June 2020 Buchalter, a prolific killer, one-time head of the murder-for-hire outfit known as Murder, Inc. and an energetic labor racketeer. Rick Kogan, chicagotribune.com, 11 Sep. 2019 Based on the violent life of the racketeer who ruled Chicago’s criminal underworld during the ‘20s and ‘30s. Los Angeles Times, 11 Aug. 2019 The film follows Brickman who grows up among racketeers on the Lower East Side of New York City where she’s drawn to the glamorous and flashy lifestyle of New York mobsters. James Hibberd, EW.com, 24 July 2019 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, 12 June 2019
Prosecutors said the bribe to Center was arranged by a separate defendant, Martin Fox, the president of a tennis academy in Houston, who pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges in November. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 24 Feb. 2020 Ellison and a co-defendant, Aljermiah Mack, have pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges. San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Sep. 2019 Flemmi pleaded guilty to racketeering and ten murders and is serving a life sentence. Jim Geraghty, National Review, 4 Nov. 2019 The 30-count racketeering indictment charged corrections officers Stephen Thomas and Marvella Sullivan and suspected gang member Lamar Speights. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 24 Dec. 2019 The raids on Sandoval’s offices come amid ongoing corruption probes at City Hall, including the bombshell racketeering indictment filed against Ald. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, 24 Sep. 2019 The former president of the private Texas tennis academy, Martin Fox, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit racketeering in November and is scheduled to be sentenced May 14. NBC News, 25 Feb. 2020 A few months after he was acquitted, Sheeran was indicted again, this time in a massive multi-defendant labor racketeering case in a Delaware federal court. Washington Post, 14 Jan. 2020 In practice, they are essentially governed by one of two competing Brazilian drug trafficking organizations, which run their trafficking and racketeering businesses there and recruit their rank and file from behind bars. Robert Muggah, The Conversation, 16 Dec. 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use


1924, in the meaning defined above


1928, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of racketeer was in 1924

Dictionary Entries Near racketeer

Cite this Entry

“Racketeer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/racketeer. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition


: one who gets money or advantages by using force or threats
racketeer verb

Legal Definition


rack·​e·​teer ˌra-kə-ˈtir How to pronounce racketeer (audio)
: one that engages in racketeering
racketeer verb

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