blackmail


From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Blackmail \Black"mail`\, n. [Black + mail a piece of money.]
   1. A certain rate of money, corn, cattle, or other thing,
      anciently paid, in the north of England and south of
      Scotland, to certain men who were allied to robbers, or
      moss troopers, to be by them protected from pillage. --Sir
      W. Scott.
      [1913 Webster]

   2. Payment of money exacted by means of intimidation; also,
      extortion of money from a person by threats of public
      accusation, exposure, or censure.
      [1913 Webster]

   3. (Eng. Law) Black rent, or rent paid in corn, flesh, or the
      lowest coin, a opposed to "white rent", which paid in
      silver.
      [1913 Webster]

   To levy blackmail, to extort money by threats, as of injury
      to one's reputation.
      [1913 Webster]
.

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Blackmail \Black"mail`\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Blackmailed; p.
   pr. & vb. n. Blackmailing.]
   To extort money from by exciting fears of injury other than
   bodily harm, as injury to reputation, distress of mind, etc.;
   as, to blackmail a merchant by threatening to expose an
   alleged fraud. [U. S.]
   [1913 Webster]
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