In Russian, there's this slang word which means "to steal something from someone by force" like a business or a cell-phone. "Отжать бизнес" or "Отжать мобилу". The verb is "wring out" - i. e. "to wring out a business" or "to wring out a cell-phone" respectively.

What's the English word for that? I mean a well-known slang word understood by both the Americans and the British.

  • What do you mean by business? Could you describe a situation which you'd label as someone stealing business from someone else?
    – user3395
    Jan 19, 2020 at 14:06
  • 1
    @userr2684291 Well, I mean the situation when a guy creates a company in Russia and it becomes very valuable and influential and the government or people close to it begin to feel threatened so they send some kind of military troops to the company's premises and they make up some reason to initiate criminal prosecution of the company's director, so that if the director isn't abroad at the time, say, in some democratic country, he's thrown to jail. That is what we call "Отжать бизнес" or "to wring out business"
    – Let
    Jan 19, 2020 at 16:53
  • Wring out means to squeeze wet material to remove excess liquid, and it can be used with people: a police officer could squeeze the truth out of someone, etc., but you wouldn't use it to describe a regular mugging (the cellphone case you mentioned).
    – user3395
    Jan 19, 2020 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


Legally, taking it by immediate threat of force is robbery.

The taking of money or goods in the possession of another, from his or her person or immediate presence, by force or intimidation.

Legally, the more distant threat is extortion.

The obtaining of property from another induced by wrongful use of actual or threatened force, violence, or fear, or under color of official right.

but in an informal context, one might say the business owner was robbed.

However, if you wanted one word to cover both situations, we would probably say both the phone and the business were stolen. Which is not very slangy


The word most often used in this context is mugged (from the verb to mug).

It implies stealing from an individual using threat, force or violence.

Robbed is an alternative, again indicating theft with force or menaces (from the verb to rob.

But while mugged is used only with regard to people, robbed can also be used for institutions such as banks.



  • But isn't the object of those verbs the person who's being robbed/mugged? I mean, you can rob or mug a person or an institution, but you can't "rob/mug something from someone", can you? Is there any other slang verb or a slang phrasal verb when the object is the thing which is stolen?
    – Let
    Jan 19, 2020 at 17:08
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    @Rusletov Indeed. I wonder if snatch (neutral to informal) or perhaps tear something away from someone (informal) would work. Maybe even hijack (neutral) in the case of a company. A general term would be seize (neutral), and although it isn't slangy, it's exactly what you want because it carries overtones of force. Another is grab, but it's quite "simple". Somehow I'm attracted to the terms snag, which might be restricted to US English, and nab. These last two sound more slangy than others, but a more proficient speaker will tell you the best choice.
    – user3395
    Jan 19, 2020 at 18:18

Another possible phrase is "help oneself to (something)". This is not slang (it is usually used of food: "He helped himself to more potatoes"), but it sounds ironic and drily humourous when the thing taken is a business or other large property: "The government put the owner on trial and helped itself to his oil company/house/country estate..."

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