- to wrest or wring (money, information, etc.) from a person by violence, intimidation, or abuse of authority; obtain by force, torture, threat, or the like.
- to take illegally by reason of one's office.
Origin of extort
synonym study for extort
OTHER WORDS FROM extortex·tort·er, nounex·tor·tive, adjectivenon·ex·tor·tive, adjectiveun·ex·tort·ed, adjective
Words nearby extort
What does extort mean?
Extort means to use violence, threats, intimidation, or pressure from one’s authority to force someone to hand over money (or something else of value) or do something they don’t want to do.
Extort is commonly used in this literal way, but it can also be used in a few more general or figurative ways.
It can mean to overcharge someone for something, as in If you ask me, the textbooks companies are extorting us by coming out with new editions every year.
It can also mean to obtain through relentless and unreasonable demands, as in The kids are good at extorting treats from their grandparents just by constantly asking.
These senses liken such actions to the actual crime of extortion. More generally, the word extortion refers to the act of extorting. Such actions can be described as extortionary. A person who engages in extortion can be called an extortionist or an extortioner.
Example: The mob regularly extorts money from small business owners through intimidation.
Where does extort come from?
The first records of the word extort come from the 1300s. It comes from the Latin extortus, meaning “wrenched out,” from the verb extorquēre, “to wrest away,” from torquēre, “to twist.”
When a mobster walks into a shop and says, “Nice place you got here—it would be a shame if something happened to it,” they’re threatening to make bad things (destruction and violence) happen unless you pay them not to do those bad things. That’s extortion. People extort in a lot of different ways, such as through intimidation and threats like these or through violence. Blackmail is a specific type of extortion. Sometimes, people extort money or favors from other people by abusing their power or authority. All of these kinds of extortion are serious crimes that can carry a lengthy prison sentence.
The word extort is also often used in a more general way. It’s especially used in the context of politics to criticize politicians for using methods that are similar to or that some consider to be extortion.
What’s the difference between bribery and extortion? Extortion is often the act of requiring a bribe from someone, or forcing someone to provide money or favors in some other corrupt way. Bribery typically refers to the act of bribing or the exchange itself.
Did you know ... ?
What are some other forms related to extort?
What are some synonyms for extort?
What are some words that share a root or word element with extort?
What are some words that often get used in discussing extort?
What are some words extort may be commonly confused with?
How is extort used in real life?
Extort is often used in a legal context, but it can also be used in a figurative way.
Don’t be fooled by a phone scammer posing as a CISA representative to threaten targets for supposed questionable behavior in an attempt to extort money. Report these calls to your local FBI office. https://t.co/NIQJG1JSWv #Cyber #Cybersecurity #InfoSec
— US-CERT (@USCERT_gov) November 30, 2019
It's an extremely tendentious argument saying that the six final SH stories still under copyright showed SH to be a different character than the previous ones and so that characterization is under copyright. It's completely wrong but they're trying to extort.
— Sascha Segan (@saschasegan) June 27, 2020
Congress president Sonia Gandhi accused the central government of extorting the common people by raising fuel prices https://t.co/5ZGQLsrsfc
— Hindustan Times (@htTweets) June 29, 2020
Try using extort!
Which of the following actions could be used as a way to extort money from someone?
D. all of the above
How to use extort in a sentence
By the 1980s, agents learned that he was supervising a street crew that specialized in extorting well-off business owners.
In the middle of the year, a swelling wave of cryptocurrency scams invoked the coronavirus to extort or blackmail people.Here's How Shopping Scams on Facebook Are Ripping Off Thousands of Customers, With the Money Flowing Overseas|Andrew R. Chow|December 19, 2020|Time
Falwell claims Liberty damaged his reputation, alleging the university accepted without verifying what he called false statements made by a man who had an affair with Falwell’s wife and attempted to extort the couple, according to the complaint.Jerry Falwell Jr. sues Liberty University, says school damaged his reputation|Susan Svrluga, Sarah Pulliam Bailey|October 29, 2020|Washington Post
Many of these bribes happened at makeshift roadblocks set up by SARS officers in order to extort drivers and passengers.The Nigerian Government Has Pledged to #EndSARS and Reform the Police. This Isn't the First Time They've Made That Promise|Andrew R. Chow|October 28, 2020|Time
In discussions monitored by the FBI, the hackers said they had hoped to extort $4 million from Tesla via the plot.The FBI broke up a Russian hacker plot to extort millions from Tesla|Aaron Pressman|August 28, 2020|Fortune
Kellner was also charged with attempting to extort the Lebovits family.
Or a stranger willing to let you use their cellphone to call your family might save their number and use it to extort them later.How Mexico’s Cartels Are Behind the Border Kid Crisis|Caitlin Dickson|July 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
What Republicans will attempt to extort from the White House will be decided at their retreat in January.Republicans Compromise on the Budget, but Don’t Expect Them To Compromise on the Debt Ceiling|Eleanor Clift|December 18, 2013|DAILY BEAST
They say he tried to extort more money from them on the way out of Syria, but Mousa engaged him angrily in Arabic.
Instead, it would rather sabotage the game and try to extort its way to a victory.
One day some commissioners called at her cell, hoping to extort from her the secret of her husband's retreat.Madame Roland, Makers of History|John S. C. Abbott
In reality, Alleyn wanted to extort a larger rental than £14 for the property, which had greatly increased in value.Shakespearean Playhouses|Joseph Quincy Adams
His prisoners were tied up and beaten with naked cutlasses in order to extort information about their concealed hoards.The History of England from the Accession of James II.|Thomas Babington Macaulay
But as it was, the lady had sufficient power to extort a promise that I would devote myself to the work.Papers from Overlook-House|Casper Almore
Besides, how could he be sure that Billy would not play upon his fears to extort further sums?Eric, or Little by Little|Frederic W. Farrar