verb (used with object)
- 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.
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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.
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What are some other forms related to extort?
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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
Example sentences from the Web for extort
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
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 gangster takes the filmmakers with him as he goes out to extort protection money from Chinese stall holders.Indonesian Killers Brought to Justice 50 Years Too Late in ‘The Act of Killing’|Tom Sykes|July 28, 2013|DAILY BEAST
He will certainly never importune you, nor poorly attempt to extort from your pity what he could not win from your love.Self-control|Mary Brunton
But you see it is in vain to attempt to extort anything from him.Guy Fawkes|William Harrison Ainsworth
How often, my hearers, do you 'spect me to stop my dressing to extort you!Donald and Dorothy|Mary Mapes Dodge
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
All I could extort was a promise to keep Coralli, if some other player happened to retire.The Memoirs of Count Carlo Gozzi|Count Carlo Gozzi