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Words nearby extortionist
What does extortionist mean?
An extortionist is someone who practices extortion—the act of 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 word extortioner means the same exact thing.
Extort can mean to overcharge someone for something or to obtain through relentless and unreasonable demands. In both of these cases, a person who does so can be called an extortionist or an extortioner. These senses liken such actions to the actual crime of extortion.
Example: Mobsters are often extortionists, meaning they extort money from small business owners through intimidation.
Where does extortionist come from?
The first records of the word extortionist come from the 1880s. It ultimately comes from the Latin extortus, meaning “wrenched out,” from the verb extorquēre, “to wrest away,” from torquēre, “to twist.” The suffix -ist indicates a person who practices the action of the root verb—in this case, someone who practices extortion.
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. Extortionists extort in a lot of different ways, such as through intimidation and threats like these or through violence. A blackmailer is a specific type of extortionist. Some extortionists abuse their power or authority to extort money or favors from other people. All of these kinds of extortion are serious crimes that can carry a lengthy prison sentence.
The word extortionist can also be used in a more general way. A politician may be called an extortionist as a criticism for using methods that some consider to be similar to extortion. It can also be used in a less serious way, as in The kids are little extortionists—they get their grandparents to give them treats by constantly asking.
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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How is extortionist used in real life?
Extortionist is often used to refer to criminals, but it can also be used in a figurative way.
An extortionist for the Mexican Mafia contacted an LAPD detective from jail with a startling claim: The gunman in an unsolved 2016 shooting was a gang member, he said, but a Glendale detective had offered him $100,000 to “scare” someone. https://t.co/918jruUqpF
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 21, 2020
There's an argument that I call the "police extortionist" argument–the, 'if there are no cops, who will protect you from x?' line. It's always disproven. Tonight's attempted act of terrorism in Seattle occurred in the most militarised space in the city since the WTO protests.
— Katherine Cross (@Quinnae_Moon) June 8, 2020
Can't go to dinner tomorrow night because the little extortionists will be by demanding tricks or treats.
— Marc Webster (@WebHead101) October 31, 2014
Try using extortionist!
Which of the following actions is a method used by extortionists?
D. all of the above
Example sentences from the Web for extortionist
Downplaying the ransomware threat seems foolish when it continues to grow at a rapid pace and when the extortionists are, shall we say, less than trustworthy.Cyberpunk 2077 maker refuses to play ransomware attacker’s game|David Meyer|February 9, 2021|Fortune
There have been reports of a city, often suggested to be in Brazil, having its electricity cut off by extortionist hackers.Super Bowl Blackout Should Help Build Momentum for a Smart Grid|John Avlon|February 5, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The lawyers accused Stephens of being an “extortionist” and handed him his own criminal background report, he said.‘I Always Felt It Was Creepy’: Stories of Sex With Elmo Puppeteer Kevin Clash|Maria Elena Fernandez|December 6, 2012|DAILY BEAST
Driver an extortionist; but I knew the exact distance, to the tenth of a kilometre.