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

Based on the violent life of the racketeer who ruled Chicago’s criminal underworld during the ‘20s and ‘30s. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 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, "Jennifer Lawrence to star in Mob Girl adaptation," 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, "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

Heinel, who was fired by USC in March, has pleaded not guilty to racketeering charges. Margaret Shuttleworth, CNN, "USC admissions officials considered family potential to donate money, court filings say," 4 Sep. 2019 Heinel, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy, was fired from her post when she was arrested. Los Angeles Times, "USC officials discussed how much wealthy parents could donate when their children applied, records show," 3 Sep. 2019 Mack, 37, is currently awaiting a sentence after pleading guilty to charges of racketeering conspiracy. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "E! True Hollywood Story Takes on NXIVM and Predicts Kim Kardashian Can Be President in New Promo," 22 Aug. 2019 Devine pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to one count of racketeering conspiracy. San Diego Union-Tribune, "4 Corner Hustler pleads guilty to racketeering in Chicago," 22 Aug. 2019 His conviction follows the April guilty plea by his top lieutenant in the group, Mack, to racketeering conspiracy and racketeering charges. Aurelie Corinthios, PEOPLE.com, "Lifetime Is Making a NXIVM Sex Cult Movie After Founder Keith Raniere's Conviction," 1 July 2019 Federal prosecutors recently indicted two alleged members of the Evans Mob on racketeering conspiracy charges accusing the gang of using murder, assault and other acts of violence to protect territory and boost its status on social media. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "‘Why you keep asking me questions?’ Shooting victim charged with contempt as law enforcement struggles with no-snitch code," 27 June 2019 The transaction is outlined in an indictment charging Salcedo with racketeering conspiracy. Matthew Ormseth, Los Angeles Times, "A $100,000 bribe got teen a UCLA soccer scholarship without even playing," 19 Aug. 2019 Singer has pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and other crimes. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, "U-Va.: ‘Prospect’ of gifts to school appeared to drive recruitment of student-athletes," 9 Aug. 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

4 Sep 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).


formidable, illustrious, or eminent

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