extortion

Extortion means forcing someone into giving you something through threats. A bully who tells kids he'll beat them up if they don't give him their lunch money is guilty of extortion.

Because extortion is a crime — mobsters are often charged with it — the word has a strict, legal meaning. It's the act of using threats or force to obtain something from someone. But the word is used in a general context as well. As you sell $5 boxes of M&Ms door-to-door to pay for your band trip to Florida, cranky neighbors may complain, "At this price, it's extortion!" — meaning they feel you're forcing them to give you their money.

Definitions of extortion
  1. noun
    unjust exaction (as by the misuse of authority)
    “the extortion by dishonest officials of fees for performing their sworn duty”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    exaction
    act of demanding or levying by force or authority
  2. noun
    the felonious act of extorting money (as by threats of violence)
    see moresee less
    types:
    blackmail
    extortion of money by threats to divulge discrediting information
    protection, tribute
    payment extorted by gangsters on threat of violence
    shakedown
    extortion of money (as by blackmail)
    type of:
    felony
    a serious crime (such as murder or arson)
  3. noun
    an exorbitant charge
    see moresee less
    type of:
    overcharge
    a price that is too high
Word Family