Racketeering refers to engaging in a dishonest, fraudulent, or illegal business enterprise, often involving organized crime, in order to obtain financial gain or power.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



corruption, fraud, extortion, blackmail, swindling, dishonesty, illegality, organized crime, criminal activity, unlawful business practices, bribery.


Legitimate business practices, honesty, integrity, legality.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun racketeers, racketeer, racketeerings, rackets, racketiness, racketinesses, racket, racketeering
Verb racketeers, racketeer, racketeered, racket, racketeering
Adjective rackety
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The notorious gang was involved in various forms of racketeering, including drug trafficking and money laundering.

  • The government was able to bring down the corrupt corporation by charging its executives with racketeering and fraud.

  • The witness testified against the accused, providing evidence of their involvement in the illegal racketeering operation.

  • Despite its illegal activities being exposed, the crime syndicate continued to engage in racketeering, defying the law and authorities.


The term “racketeering” is a noun, and it is commonly used to describe illegal business practices carried out by organized criminal groups or individuals. The word can be traced back to the verb “racket,” which means to conduct a dishonest or illegal business activity, such as extortion or fraud. The suffix “-eering” is often added to words to denote an ongoing or habitual action, such as “pioneering” or “volunteering,” making “racketeering” an ongoing or habitual form of dishonest or criminal business activity.

In legal contexts, racketeering is often used interchangeably with “racketeering activity,” which refers to a laundry list of criminal activities that are associated with organized crime. These can include bribery, extortion, fraud, money laundering, and drug trafficking. In the United States, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) of 1970 was enacted to combat the problem of racketeering activities carried out by organized crime groups.

The illicit activities associated with racketeering often involve large sums of money and can have far-reaching negative consequences for individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. Racketeering activities can contribute to the erosion of public trust in institutions, distort the free market, and fuel violence and corruption. In recent years, racketeering activities have increasingly migrated to the digital world, with the rise of online fraud and cryptocurrency-related crimes.

Overall, due to the nature of the activities associated with racketeering, the word has gained a negative connotation and is generally associated with illegal and unethical behavior. Its usage highlights the importance of upholding laws and regulations, as well as maintaining social and economic order.