View Full Version : define: blackmail

05-18-2006, 10:54 AM
Having a senior moment here.

Normally, the threat in blackmail is to harm the person you're blackmailing; what if it's harm to yourself?

Example: that Irish guy in prison who threatened to (and did) starve himself to death if the government didn't do this or that.

I have a feeling that there's a specific word for that but it completely evades me and the dictionary/thesaurus is no help.

05-18-2006, 11:06 AM
Isn't that just classified as a threat? I wouldn't call it blackmail, though.

05-18-2006, 11:09 AM
Dictionary.com defines it as this:

Extortion of money or something else of value from a person by the threat of exposing a criminal act or discreditable information.
Something of value extorted in this manner.
If whoever that person is threatening would experience a loss of something valuable (to them) as a result, then it would be considered blackmail...

05-18-2006, 11:15 AM
I don't think there's a word for that. The closest concept I know of is martyrdom.

Alien Enigma
05-18-2006, 11:21 AM
Blackmail is similar to this: If you do something for me, I won't do "X." It's a form of a tradeoff or a deal, but it has sinister motives.

Hunger Strike would probably fit the situation you're talking about.


05-18-2006, 03:42 PM
Thanks to all; I guess in this situation threat is the best word. For some reason I was convinced there was a separate word. Must be going off my rocker, or confusing it with something german and offbeat.

05-18-2006, 06:59 PM
a "protest"?

05-18-2006, 07:36 PM
a "protest"?

yeah, I gues in this case it was a mass protest.

05-18-2006, 07:56 PM
To those in support of the hunger strike, it's a protest. To those whom the strike is aimed against, it's blackmail.

I just know I wouldn't be any good at it. They would break me the first time they waved a pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger under my nose. ;-)


05-18-2006, 08:24 PM
If it's David Blane, you can call it a publicity stunt. If not, you could call it extreme dieting ;)