View synonyms for extortion


[ ik-stawr-shuhn ]


  1. an act or instance of extorting.

    Synonyms: blackmail

  2. Law. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.
  3. oppressive or illegal exaction, as of excessive price or interest:

    the extortions of usurers.

  4. anything extorted.

    Synonyms: blackmail

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Other Words From

  • nonex·tortion noun

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Word History and Origins

Origin of extortion1

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English extorcion, from Late Latin extortiōn-, stem of extortiō, literally, “a twisting away,” from extort(us) + -iō noun suffix; extort, -ion

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Example Sentences

China has no reason to give the green light to such a deal, which is dirty and unfair and based on bullying and extortion.

From Fortune

In a ransomware attack, the bandits typically demand an extortion payment, usually denominated in a cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin.

From Fortune

Hackers often target businesses, shutting down technology and stealing data before demanding up to millions of dollars in extortion money.

In Tripoli they helped protect the city after Haftar launched his offensive on the capital in April 2019, but for years they have been accused of behaving like criminal gangs, engaging in extortion and plundering state funds.

From Ozy

NBCUniversal Vice Chairman Ron Meyer stepped down from the entertainment company after revealing that he made a secret settlement with a woman with whom he had an affair and received extortion threats.

From Fortune

And extortion makes a lot more sense before a story hits the news wire, not after.

There are limits to the painting of banditry and extortion as the legitimate raising of taxes.

Did he participate in his own extortion and cancel his plans for a big Christmas premiere?

She refused to take a paternity test, and was eventually convicted of extortion and sentenced to 22 months in prison.

There could be a number of potential crimes, not the least of which could be extortion.

Blood-shed, oppression, extortion, and all the instinctive habits of the shrewd savage were again rife.

She declared that nobody could help her and that, anyway, there would never be a repetition of the extortion.

The extortion of that confirmation of his calumnies had been a main object of the whole disgraceful farce.

It seemed that his idea of economy might be expressed in these words: He abhorred extortion and visible waste.

Undue claims on the part of the tax collectors were aggravated by the extortion of the public officials.


Related Words

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More About Extortion

What does extortion mean?

Extortion is the act of extorting—using 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.

The verb extort is commonly used in this literal way, but it can also be used in a more general or figurative way meaning to overcharge for something or to obtain through relentless and unreasonable demands. These senses liken such actions to the actual crime of extortion, as in The way they raise tuition every semester is extortion, if you ask me.

A person who engages in extortion can be called an extortionist or an extortioner. Such actions can be described as extortionary.

Example: The mob regularly uses extortion to squeeze money out of small business owners through intimidation.

Where does extortion come from?

The first records of the word extortion come from the 1200s. It ultimately 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. Extortion can happen 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 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 extortion?

What are some synonyms for extortion?

What are some words that share a root or word element with extortion

What are some words that often get used in discussing extortion?

What are some words extortion may be commonly confused with?



How is extortion used in real life?

Extortion is often used in a legal context, but it can also be used in a figurative way.



Try using extortion!

Which of the following actions is a form of extortion?

A. blackmail
B. theft by intimidation
C. abuse of power for favors
D. all of the above