Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Financial, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


1. Illegal use of one's official position or powers to obtain property, funds, or patronage.
2. The act or an instance of extorting something, as by psychological pressure.
3. An excessive or exorbitant charge.

ex·tor′tion·ar′y (-shə-nĕr′ē) adj.
ex·tor′tion·ist, ex·tor′tion·er n.


the act of securing money, favours, etc by intimidation or violence; blackmail
exˈtortioner, exˈtortionist n


(ɪkˈstɔr ʃən)

1. an act or instance of extorting.
2. the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one's office or authority.
3. anything extorted.
[1250–1300; Middle English < Late Latin]
ex•tor′tion•ist, ex•tor′tion•er, n.



badger game Extortion, blackmail, intimidation achieved through deception; most specifically, the scheme in which a woman entices a man into a compromising situation, and then victimizes him by demanding money when her male accomplice, often pretending to be the enraged husband, arrives on the scene, threatening violence or scandal. The expression, in common use in the United States since the early 1900s, arose from the cruel sport of badger baiting, in which a live badger was placed in a hole or a barrel so that it could be easily attacked by dogs. Thus, to badger came to mean ‘to worry, pester, or harass,’ and, more intensively, in the sense above, ‘to persecute or blackmail.’ The woman decoy in the badger game is called the badger-worker.

bleed To extort money from an individual or an organization; to pay an unreasonable amount of money; to pay through the nose. This slang term has been in use since the 17th century, at which time bleeding was a common surgical practice. Whether bleeding was natural or surgically induced, loss of blood was significant. The significance of money to most people, and the fact that it can be paid out with or without force, makes the figurative use of bleed relating to money a logical extension of the literal meaning.

fry the fat out of To obtain money by high-pressure tactics or extortion; to milk, put the squeeze on. Just as the frying process removes excess fat, so does extortion or high-pressure fund-raising tactics remove the “fat” or excess wealth from the affluent. This now little-used U.S. slang expression dates from the late 19th century.

His main qualification is admitted to be that of a good collector of funds. No one could, in the historic phrase, fry out more fat. (The Nation, April, 1904)

put the bite on To solicit money from, to hit up for a loan; also, to do so through force, thus, to extort money from, to blackmail. Both uses play on the idea of extracting by exerting pressure. The alternate put the bee on is usually limited to the less forceful borrowing sense. Webster’s Third cites Hartley Howard:

… some smooth hoodlum puts the bee on his daughter for two thousand bucks.

The stronger meaning is the more common, however:

Or did he just happen to see what happened and put the bite on you and you paid him a little now and then to avoid scandal? (Raymond Chandler, High Window, 1942)

shakedown Extortion, blackmail; a forced contribution, as for protection. This term originally referred to a method of getting fruits and nuts out of a tree. In its figurative applications, shakedown conjures images of a person’s being turned upside down and shaken to forcefully remove the money from his pockets.

He [a New York City policeman] was fined 30 days’ pay because he would not stand for a “shakedown,” which means that he had refused to give from time to time upon demand 5 or 10 dollars from his meagre salary to his superiors to be used for purposes unknown. (A. Hodder, The Fight For The City, 1903)

Shake down ‘to extort, plunder’ is frequently used as a verb phrase.

For only last week they were shook down for five hundred by a stray fellow from the Department. (J. Barbicon, Confessions of a Rum-Runner, 1927)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.extortion - an exorbitant charge
overcharge - a price that is too high
2.extortion - unjust exaction (as by the misuse of authority); "the extortion by dishonest officials of fees for performing their sworn duty"
exaction - act of demanding or levying by force or authority; "exaction of tribute"; "exaction of various dues and fees"
3.extortion - the felonious act of extorting money (as by threats of violence)
felony - a serious crime (such as murder or arson)
blackmail - extortion of money by threats to divulge discrediting information
tribute, protection - payment extorted by gangsters on threat of violence; "every store in the neighborhood had to pay him protection"
shakedown - extortion of money (as by blackmail)


noun blackmail, force, oppression, compulsion, coercion, shakedown (U.S. slang), rapacity, exaction He has been charged with extortion and abusing his position.
إنْتِزاع، إبْتِزاز بالقُوَّه
nauîung; fjárkúgun
zorla alma


[ɪksˈtɔːʃən] Nextorsión f, exacción f; (by public figure) → concusión f


[ɪkˈstɔːrʃən] nextorsion f


n (of money)Erpressung f; (of signature)Erzwingung f; this is sheer extortion! (inf)das ist ja Wucher!


[ɪksˈtɔːʃn] nestorsione f


(ikˈstoːt) verb
to obtain (from a person) by threats or violence. They extorted a confession from him by torture.
exˈtortion (-ʃən) noun
exˈtortionate (-nət) adjective
(of a price) much too high. That restaurant's prices are extortionate!
References in classic literature ?
for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but within, they are full of extortion and excess.
To the eye it is fair enough, here; but seen in its integrity, under the sky, and by the daylight, it is a crumbling tower of waste, mismanagement, extortion, debt, mortgage, oppression, hunger, nakedness, and suffering.
Wilful abuses of a public authority, to the oppression of the subject, and every species of official extortion, are offenses against the government, for which the persons who commit them may be indicted and punished according to the circumstances of the case.
You do well to boast of it," said Andrea, who, without becoming angry, as Caderousse feared, at this new extortion, quietly resigned the ring.
And to the prince who goes forth with his army, supporting it by pillage, sack, and extortion, handling that which belongs to others, this liberality is necessary, otherwise he would not be followed by soldiers.
Astor, complained of their selfishness, their extortion, and their thievish propensities.
The mention of this debt always stirred up the gall of Pierre Dorion, bringing with it the remembrance of the whiskey extortion.
Nothing here but a parcel of holy-bolies,' said the Englishman aloud, and passed on amid a ripple of uneasiness; for native police mean extortion to the native all India over.
I am quite aware that his money is his own, and that my action -As much like an attempt at extortion.
Because," said the Man Leaning on a Spade, "I belong to the Gravediggers' National Extortion Society, and we have decided to limit the production of graves and get more money for the reduced output.
Considerable sensation (the correspondent announced) had been caused in Perth and its neighborhood, by the exposure of an anonymous attempt at extortion, of which a lady of distinction had lately been made the object.
To your shouted remonstrances against that extortion this towering trunk with one hand on the engine-room telegraph only shook its bearded head above the splash, the racket, and the clouds of smoke in which the tug, backing and fill ing in the smother of churning paddle-wheels be haved like a ferocious and impatient creature.