blackmail

[ blak-meyl ]
/ ˈblækˌmeɪl /

noun

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.

verb (used with object)

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.

Origin of blackmail

First recorded in 1545–55; black + mail3
Related formsblack·mail·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for blackmail

British Dictionary definitions for blackmail

blackmail

/ (ˈblækˌmeɪl) /

noun

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

verb (tr)

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
Derived Formsblackmailer, noun

Word Origin for blackmail

C16: see black, mail ³
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