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

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 Actress Allison Mack pleaded guilty to racketeering charges Monday for what federal prosecutors said was her high-ranking role in an upstate New York cult-like group. Corinne Ramey, WSJ, "‘Smallville’ Actress Pleads Guilty in Case Involving Cult-Like Group," 8 Apr. 2019 How the College Admissions Fraud Actually Worked Singer pleaded guilty this week to racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice charges. Tyler Kingkade, Town & Country, "How the College Admissions Scandal Is Different From the Other Ways Rich Parents Help Their Kids Get Into School," 13 Mar. 2019 The scheme run by William Rick Singer, who pleaded guilty Tuesday to racketeering conspiracy and other crimes, was enabled by the manner in which athletic departments round... Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Colleges Rethink Athletic Special Admissions in Wake of Indictments," 17 Mar. 2019 As noted by The Boston Globe, prosecutors allege that the plan was orchestrated by California businessman William Rick Singer, who is expected to plead guilty to racketeering conspiracy and money laundering charges. Emily Bloch, Teen Vogue, "Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman Among Dozens of Wealthy Parents Indicted in College Admissions Cheating Scheme," 12 Mar. 2019 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

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).


to take the place or position of

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