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extort

Line breaks: ex¦tort
Pronunciation: /ɪkˈstɔːt
 
, ɛk-/

Definition of extort in English:

verb

[with object]
Obtain (something) by force, threats, or other unfair means: he attempted to extort money from the company
More example sentences
  • There are many registered cases of police using the threat of arrest to extort a lot of money from the husband's family.
  • Federal forces routinely extort money from detainees' relatives as a condition for release.
  • The police often use torture or the threat of torture to extort money.
Synonyms
force, obtain by force, obtain by threat(s), blackmail someone for, extract, exact, coerce, wring, wrest, screw, squeeze, milk, worm something out of someone
North American & Australian informal put the bite on someone for
archaic rack

Origin

early 16th century: from Latin extort- 'wrested', from the verb extorquere, from ex- 'out' + torquere 'to twist'.

More
  • torch from (Middle English):

    A torch in the original sense of ‘something soaked in an inflammable substance used to give light’ was often made of twisted hemp or other fibres. This is still the American meaning, and reflects the word's Latin origin, torquere ‘to twist’. Only in British English can torch describe a battery-powered electric lamp, which Americans call a flashlight. A torch song is a sad or sentimental song of unrequited love, whose name, used since the 1920s, comes from the phrase carry a torch for, ‘to love someone who does not love you in return’. The image in pass on the torch, ‘to pass on a tradition, especially one of learning or enlightenment’, is that of the runners in a relay race passing on the torch to each other, as was the custom in the ancient Greek Olympic Games. The Latin source of torch, torquere, is found in a large number of other English words. Most obviously it is the source of the engineer's torque (late 19th century), and the twisted Celtic neck-ring the torc (mid 19th century). Less obviously it is in contort (Late Middle English) ‘twist together’; distort (Late Middle English) ‘twist out of shape’; extort (early 16th century) ‘twist out of’; and retort (Late Middle English) ‘to twist back’ (the chemical apparatus gets its name from its twisted shape). Tortura ‘twisting, torment’ the Latin noun formed from the verb gives us torture and tortuous (both LME), and torment (Middle English). Thwart (Middle English) is an Old Norse word that goes back to the same Indo-European root.

Derivatives

extorter

1
noun
Example sentences
  • And we ought to prosecute the people who are the extorters.
  • Berlusconi Says Business Was Victim, Not Extorter.
  • Animal-rights activists are exploiting loopholes that, for example, prevent the use of extortion law unless the extorter seeks personal gain.

extortive

2
adjective
Example sentences
  • The threat that ‘THEY will destroy you’ is extortive, and we have seen this in the careers of US Congresspersons who opposed or criticized THEM.
  • The extortive power of the rebels is easily demonstrated by blowing up the pipeline.
  • Grants, under certain conditions, can also contribute to increased domestic revenue mobilisation which in turn pushes tax administrations towards more extortive and less accountable dealings with tax payers.

Definition of extort in:

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