From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search





From extortion +‎ -ate (suffix forming adjectives with the sense ‘characterized by [the thing specified by the stem]’).[1]





extortionate (comparative more extortionate, superlative most extortionate)

  1. Of, related to, or typifying extortion (the practice of obtaining money or other property by the use of force or threats).
    Synonyms: (rare) extortionable, extortionary, (obsolete) extortious, extortive, gripeful
    • 1745, Thomas Newton, “Pharisaism and Popery Parallel’d, in a Sermon Preach’d in the Parish Church of St. Mary-le-Bow, and Grosvenor Chapel, on Occasion of the Present Rebellion in Scotland. October 1745.”, in Two Sermons; [], London: [] J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson and S. Draper, →OCLC, page 42:
      Now it is certain the Roman prieſts are not only ſeemingly very religious and really very extortionate, but are extortionate by means of religion, and make their prayers and maſſes the grand pretence for their exactions.
    • 1854 April, F[rancis] O[rmand] J[onathan] Smith, “Art. II.—Experimental Legislation on the Opium Trade in China, and on the Liquor Trade of the United States.”, in Freeman Hunt, editor, Hunt’s Merchants’ Magazine and Commercial Review, volume XXX, number IV, New York, N.Y.: [Freeman Hunt], →OCLC, pages 425–426:
      It is said the daily increase in opium is owing to the negligence of officers in enforcing the interdicts? The laws and enactments are the means which extortionate underlings and worthless vagrants employ to benefit themselves; and the more complete the laws are, the greater and more numerous are the bribes paid to the extortionate underlings, and the more subtle are the schemes of such worthless vagrants.
    • 1880, Laurence Oliphant, chapter VI, in The Land of Gilead with Excursions in the Lebanon, Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons, →OCLC, page 177:
      English travellers who have visited Jerash may remember a handsome but extortionate and insolent Arab sheikh at Sûf, who demanded, and always with success, an extortionate sum as blackmail, for which he gave them an escort and protection during their visit to the ruins.
    • 1914, C[hauncey] H[ugh] Stigand, “The Commencement of Administration”, in Administration in Tropical Africa, London: Constable & Company, →OCLC, page 36:
      As regards food for police, it is much more satisfactory, in a new district, to have them fed by Government and not given money or trade goods in lieu of rations, as is often done. If they are allowed to buy their own food from the natives they will impose on the raw savage, and frequently abuse their authority by making extortionate demands under threat of punishment.
    • 2006, Colin Thubron, “The Capital”, in Shadow of the Silk Road, London: Chatto & Windus, →ISBN, page 20:
      The moneylenders – sometimes so extortionate that people pledged their slaves and sacred relics – were Uighurs from the west.
    • 2014, Matthew H[enry] Kramer, “Introduction II: What is Torture?”, in Torture and Moral Integrity: A Philosophical Inquiry, Oxford, Oxforshire: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, section 2.2.4 (Extortionate Torture), page 68:
      Interrogational torture of the sort envisaged in the last paragraph—where P's close relatives are subject to brutal mistreatment to impel P to disclose some desired information—is itself a specimen of extortionate torture.
  2. Greatly exceeding what is moderate or reasonable; exorbitant.
    Synonyms: (rare) extortionable, (obsolete) extortious
    Antonyms: modest, unextortionate
    • 1797, J. Mathews, “Respecting the Acres”, in Remarks on the Cause and Progress of the Scarcity and Dearness of Cattle, Swine Cheese, &. &. [], London: [] M. Ritchie; [s]old by N. Scarlett, [], →OCLC, page 197:
      [Y]ou get from farms ſo occupied, houſe lamb, veal, graſs lamb, a little mutton, and leſs beef, whilſt for either article ſeparately, or jointly, you are worked up to pay prices, not leſt than extortionate; []
    • 1853 January, Currer Bell [pseudonym; Charlotte Brontë], “Faubourg Clotilde”, in Villette. [], volume III, London: Smith, Elder & Co., [], →OCLC, page 337:
      [] I have the satisfaction to think you are in good hands; M. Miret will not be extortionate: the first year's rent you already have in your savings; afterwards Miss Lucy must trust God, and herself.
    • 1872 December 7, Justice Wood, “Kankakee Circuit Court, Ill. December Term, 1872. Stephen R. Moore v. The Illinois Central R. R. Co.”, in Myra Bradwell, editor, The Chicago Legal News: A Journal of Legal Intelligence, volume V, number 11 (number 219 overall), Chicago, Ill.: Chicago Legal News Company, published 1873, →OCLC, page 124, column 1:
      On the other hand, to say that this defendant, under this charter, has the power to charge whatever it pleases for passenger fares, without regard to their being reasonable or unreasonable, fair compensation or extortionate, is a power that I equally deny.
    • 1902 August 15, “The Enquiry Bureau”, in The Photographic News. The Journal for Amateur Photographers, volume XLVI, number 346 (New Series), London: Published by the proprietors, [], →OCLC, page 528, column 2:
      Down the coast among the sandhills is Blankenberg, a growing rival to Ostend, with which a steam tram connects it. The sands are firm and clean, and the hotels not unpleasantly extortionate.
    • 1919 September 12, “Roumanian Notes”, in The Near East: A Weekly Review of Oriental Politics, Literature, Finance, and Commerce, volume XVI, number 436, London: The Near East Editorial and Publishing Offices, →OCLC, page 272, column 2:
      A number of members of the committee visited the principal restaurants and cafés, and at each in turn pointed out the extortionate nature of the prices shown on the menu, requesting the proprietors to reduce immediately the prices to a reasonable figure.
    • 2013, Jack Higgins [pseudonym; Henry Patterson], chapter 1, in The Death Trade, New York, N.Y.: G[eorge] P[almer] Putnam’s Sons, published 2014, →ISBN, page 3:
      At an extortionate price, he had obtained a hire car to take him to Homs, and from there he intended to cross the border and proceed to Beirut.

Derived terms





  1. ^ extortionate, adj.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2020; extortionate, adj.”, in Lexico, Dictionary.com; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further reading