any payment extorted by intimidation, as by threats of injurious revelations or accusations.
the extortion of such payment: He confessed rather than suffer the dishonor of blackmail.
a tribute formerly exacted in the north of England and in Scotland by freebooting chiefs for protection from pillage.
to extort money from (a person) by the use of threats.
to force or coerce into a particular action, statement, etc.: The strikers claimed they were blackmailed into signing the new contract.
- blackmailer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use blackmail in a sentence
Be kind and fierce and don’t bend an inch to this emotional blackmail.Carolyn Hax: They’re in their 40s now, but one sister still says she’s the other’s ‘co-parent’ | Carolyn Hax | August 26, 2021 | Washington Post
Now crypto is at the center of a wide swath of illegal schemes, including blackmail scams, Covid-19 vaccine counterfeits, money laundering operations, and illicit sales on the darknet.Feds are seizing cryptocurrency from criminals. Now they have to figure out what to do with it. | Rebecca Heilweil | July 30, 2021 | Vox
A few days later, Pearson exposed the blackmail of Bridges and Welker.Our politics is no uglier or more dysfunctional than in the past | Kyle Longley | May 14, 2021 | Washington Post
Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement in early April describing the corporate pushback on voting measures as “economic blackmail” that would result in “serious consequences.”Texas Was Already One of the Hardest States to Vote in. It May Get Even Harder | Sanya Mansoor | May 7, 2021 | Time
Ransomeware is highly effective when coupled with the exfiltration of secrets to add blackmail pressure for companies and institutions to pay up.How Gootkit trojan distributes ransomware via Google SERPs | Detlef Johnson | March 3, 2021 | Search Engine Land
Plus, his known drug dealings certainly made him vulnerable to blackmail.The Deal With Serial’s Jay? He’s Pissed Off, Mucks Up Our Timeline | Emily Shire | December 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Americans are giving in to North Korean blackmail—and it will only get worse.The Sony Hack and America’s Craven Capitulation To Terror | David Keyes | December 19, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Back in England, Hitchcock made the transition from silents to sound with blackmail, Britain's first talkie.Alfred Hitchcock’s Fade to Black: The Great Director’s Final Days | David Freeman | December 13, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
VanDyke confirmed the attack on his website, writing that SEA had emailed him a blackmail threat.
The more accomplished students took classes in safe-cracking, burglary, blackmail, and confidence games.Meet 'The Queen of Thieves' Marm Mandelbaum, New York City's First Mob Boss | J. North Conway | September 7, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
If this stinking quartet takes it into its head to levy annual blackmail, where is the money coming from?Ancestors | Gertrude Atherton
Bois l'Hery's horses were unsound, Schwalbach's gallery was a swindle, Moessard's articles a recognised blackmail.The Nabob | Alphonse Daudet
The only possible scandal lies in the fact that Mrs. Withers paid blackmail for years.The Winning Clue | James Hay, Jr.
He attempted to blackmail my father, as he had already done so many times, but his scheme was frustrated.The Czar's Spy | William Le Queux
All the American press is not founded upon this system of virtual blackmail.As A Chinaman Saw Us | Anonymous
British Dictionary definitions for blackmail
the act of attempting to obtain money by intimidation, as by threats to disclose discreditable information
the exertion of pressure or threats, esp unfairly, in an attempt to influence someone's actions
to exact or attempt to exact (money or anything of value) from (a person) by threats or intimidation; extort
to attempt to influence the actions of (a person), esp by unfair pressure or threats
- blackmailer, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012