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  1. Ksunya's Avatar

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    #1

    extortionate and exorbitant

    Hi!
    Are the words extortionate and exorbitant widely used in speech? Or it's better to use expensive instead?

  2. BobK's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by Ksunya View Post
    Hi!
    Are the words extortionate and exorbitant widely used in speech? Or it's better to use expensive instead?
    They are, and they mean something different.

    Expensive - costing a lot
    Extortionate - costing more than it's worth
    Exorbitant - out of this world

    That hat is expensive - but it's worth it.
    It's outrageous that they should charge such an extortionate price.
    I'd never buy a Porsche - the price of that sort of car would be exorbitant - way beyond my means.


    They're all used; the last two are often used to exaggerate prices. Someone may have suggested to you that the two latter usages are wrong; but I see no problem with them, if not used to excess.

    b

  3. Ksunya's Avatar

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    #3

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Thanks a lot

  4. BobK's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    No bother . I think people who object to those words feel that they shouldn't be used just to exaggerate prices. When I said 'out of this world', I was thinking of the Latin ex and orbe. People take this derivation to heart - 'only things like the moon and the stars are exorbitant' in that sense (which I think is a ridiculous and untenable position).

    Similarly, a blackmailer extorts money from his victim (ex, torquere - to twist). To accuse a shopkeeper of this may be felt to be a little excessive.

    b

  5. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    No bother . I think people who object to those words feel that they shouldn't be used just to exaggerate prices. When I said 'out of this world', I was thinking of the Latin ex and orbe. People take this derivation to heart - 'only things like the moon and the stars are exorbitant' in that sense (which I think is a ridiculous and untenable position).

    Similarly, a blackmailer extorts money from his victim (ex, torquere - to twist). To accuse a shopkeeper of this may be felt to be a little excessive.

    b
    I was going to say the same thing about "extortionate". Even though it can mean "expensive", the root makes me think about criminal behavior. I rarely use the word for shop prices.

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    I was going to say the same thing about "extortionate". Even though it can mean "expensive", the root makes me think about criminal behavior. I rarely use the word for shop prices.
    I thought that , too, until I looked it up before my last post - but the root is torquere rather than 'tort' (as in criminal behaviour). But 'tort' itself is derived, ultimately, from the same word: all roads lead to Online Etymology Dictionary: tort

    b

  7. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    I thought that , too, until I looked it up before my last post - but the root is torquere rather than 'tort' (as in criminal behaviour). But 'tort' itself is derived, ultimately, from the same word: all roads lead to Online Etymology Dictionary: tort

    b
    It is difficult to deny that extortionate comes from extortion, however.

    [Latin extorquēre, extort-, to wrench out, extort : ex-, ex- + torquēre, to twist.]

  8. BobK's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeNewYork View Post
    It is difficult to deny that extortionate comes from extortion, however.
    Absolutely. My last post was a bit hastiliy compiled, and may have been misread. No feathers ruffled, I hope.

    b

    ps
    Incidentally, my old leatherbound, nineteenth-century and grossly mistreated latin dictionary, to which I can't even give a reference because the title page is missing, quotes Terence and Livy as using extorquēre with the meaning 'dislocated by torture' - which suggests a certain amount of discomfort in being charged extortionate prices.

  9. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    Absolutely. My last post was a bit hastiliy compiled, and may have been misread. No feathers ruffled, I hope.

    b

    ps
    Incidentally, my old leatherbound, nineteenth-century and grossly mistreated latin dictionary, to which I can't even give a reference because the title page is missing, quotes Terence and Livy as using extorquēre with the meaning 'dislocated by torture' - which suggests a certain amount of discomfort in being charged extortionate prices.
    Thanks for that. It is true that "torture" comes from the same root. Isn't etymology fun?

  10. Ksunya's Avatar

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    #10

    Re: extortionate and exorbitant

    Thanks, but can u tell me another example of usage of the adjective extortionate...not with price

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