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Borrowed from Latin extortus, past participle of extorquere (to twist or wrench out, to extort); from ex (out) + -tort, from torqueō (twist, turn).


  • IPA(key): /ɪkˈstɔː(ɹ)t/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɔː(ɹ)t


extort (third-person singular simple present extorts, present participle extorting, simple past and past participle extorted)

  1. (transitive) To take or seize from an unwilling person by physical force, menace, duress, torture, or any undue or illegal exercise of power or ingenuity.
    to extort contributions from the vanquished
    to extort confessions of guilt
    to extort a promise
    to extort payment of a debt
    • 1788 June, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, “Mr. Sheridan’s Speech, on Summing Up the Evidence on the Second, or Begum Charge against Warren Hastings, Esq., Delivered before the High Court of Parliament, June 1788”, in Select Speeches, Forensick and Parliamentary, with Prefatory Remarks by N[athaniel] Chapman, M.D., volume I, [Philadelphia, Pa.]: Published by Hopkins and Earle, no. 170, Market Street, published 1808, →OCLC, page 474:
      The Begums' ministers, on the contrary, to extort from them the disclosure of the place which concealed the treasures, were, [] after being fettered and imprisoned, led out on to a scaffold, and this array of terrours proving unavailing, the meek tempered Middleton, as a dernier resort, menaced them with a confinement in the fortress of Chunargar. Thus, my lords, was a British garrison made the climax of cruelties!
  2. (transitive, law) To obtain by means of the offense of extortion.
    • 2017 January 19, Peter Bradshaw, “T2 Trainspotting review – choose a sequel that doesn't disappoint”, in the Guardian[1]:
      Weirdly, Renton doesn’t look too much older and the same also goes for Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), who has exchanged heroin for cocaine and nowadays runs an escort-and-blackmail business, secretly videoing clients and extorting money, working with his female business partner, Veronika (Anjela Nedyalkova).
  3. (transitive and intransitive, medicine, ophthalmology) To twist outwards.


Derived terms[edit]


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See also[edit]


extort (not comparable)

  1. (obsolete) Wrongfully obtained.


  • extort”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.

Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
(See the entry for “extort”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.)