Definition of blackmail noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈblækmeɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈblækmeɪl//
    [uncountable] Types of crime
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  1. 1 the crime of demanding money from a person by threatening to tell somebody else a secret about them See related entries: Types of crime
  2. 2the act of putting pressure on a person or a group to do something they do not want to do, for example by making threats or by making them feel guilty emotional/moral blackmail We can’t let them practise this emotional blackmail on us.
  3. Word Originmid 16th cent. (denoting protection money levied by Scottish chiefs): from black + obsolete mail ‘tribute, rent’, from Old Norse mál ‘speech, agreement’.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: blackmail

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