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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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.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, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.)


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



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

  1. (transitive) To take or seize off 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
  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.



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