1

ransom

play
noun ran·som \ˈran(t)-səm\

Definition of ransom

  1. 1 :  a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity

  2. 2 :  the act of ransoming

Examples of ransom in a Sentence

  1. The kidnappers demanded a ransom of one million dollars.

  2. The family is willing to pay ransom for his release.

  3. The ransom note explained the terms under which she would be released.

Recent Examples of ransom from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ransom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of ransom

Middle English ransoun, from Anglo-French rançun, from Latin redemption-, redemptio — more at redemption


2

ransom

verb ran·som

Definition of ransom

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to deliver especially from sin or its penalty

  3. 2 :  to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price

ransomer

noun

Examples of ransom in a Sentence

  1. He was held captive for a week before he was ransomed and returned to his family.

  2. the prince emptied the treasury to ransom his son from the kidnappers

Recent Examples of ransom from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ransom.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ransom

14th century

Synonym Discussion of ransom

rescue, deliver, redeem, ransom, reclaim, save mean to set free from confinement or danger. rescue implies freeing from imminent danger by prompt or vigorous action. rescued the crew of a sinking ship deliver implies release usually of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery, or suffering. delivered his people from bondage redeem implies releasing from bondage or penalties by giving what is demanded or necessary. job training designed to redeem school dropouts from chronic unemployment ransom specifically applies to buying out of captivity. tried to ransom the kidnap victim reclaim suggests a bringing back to a former state or condition of someone or something abandoned or debased. reclaimed long-abandoned farms save may replace any of the foregoing terms; it may further imply a preserving or maintaining for usefulness or continued existence. an operation that saved my life

Ransom

play
biographical name Ran·som \ˈran(t)-səm\

Definition of Ransom

  1. John Crowe 1888–1974 American educator and poet


RANSOM Defined for English Language Learners

ransom

play
noun

Definition of ransom for English Language Learners

  • : money that is paid in order to free someone who has been captured or kidnapped

ransom

verb

Definition of ransom for English Language Learners

  • : to pay money in order to free (a person who has been captured or kidnapped)


RANSOM Defined for Kids

1

ransom

play
noun ran·som \ˈran-səm\

Definition of ransom for Students

  1. 1 :  something paid or demanded for the freedom of a captured person

  2. 2 :  the act of freeing from captivity by paying a price


2

ransom

play
verb ran·som

Definition of ransom for Students

ransomed

;

ransoming

  1. :  to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price


Law Dictionary

1

ransom

noun ran·som

Legal Definition of ransom

  1. :  a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity — see also kidnapping


2

ransom

transitive verb ran·som

Legal Definition of ransom

  1. :  to free from captivity by paying a price



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up ransom? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to relieve or lessen

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time-traveler-quiz-which-word-came-first
  • Which came first?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!