ransom

noun
ran·​som | \ ˈran(t)-səm How to pronounce ransom (audio) \

Definition of ransom

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone or something from captivity
2 : the act of ransoming

ransom

verb
ransomed; ransoming; ransoms

Definition of ransom (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to deliver especially from sin or its penalty
2 : to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price

Ransom

biographical name
Ran·​som | \ ˈran(t)-səm How to pronounce Ransom (audio) \

Definition of Ransom (Entry 3 of 3)

John Crowe 1888–1974 American educator and poet

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Other Words from ransom

Verb

ransomer noun

Synonyms for ransom

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for ransom

Verb

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

Examples of ransom in a Sentence

Noun The kidnappers demanded a ransom of one million dollars. The family is willing to pay ransom for his release. The ransom note explained the terms under which she would be released. Verb He was held captive for a week before he was ransomed and returned to his family. the prince emptied the treasury to ransom his son from the kidnappers
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cyberattacks are becoming increasingly common, with nearly two dozen Texas cities recently hit by hackers who took down or otherwise crippled computer systems while demanding ransom payments to restore them. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "Nearly 2 months after Regis University cyberattack, officials on Denver campus still trying to recover," 16 Oct. 2019 Not all cyber insurance policies cover ransom payments. Ars Technica, "The Extortion Economy: Insurance companies and the rise in ransomware attacks," 27 Aug. 2019 Not all cyber insurance policies cover ransom payments. Renee Dudley, ProPublica, "The Extortion Economy: How Insurance Companies Are Fueling a Rise in Ransomware Attacks," 27 Aug. 2019 Through research and public statements, she’s also challenged the conventional wisdom that ransom payments and concessions to captors are inherently counterproductive. Eric Tucker, chicagotribune.com, "Five years after her son was slain by Islamic State militants, Diane Foley is working to reshape how the U.S. responds when hostages are captured," 5 Aug. 2019 Armed criminal groups target public and private passenger buses as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers hostage and demanding ransom payments. Madeleine Joung, Time, "'Do Not Travel Due to Crime and Kidnapping.' Here's Where the U.S. Is Sending Asylum Seekers," 11 July 2019 Smugglers torture migrants and film it to extract ransom payments from their families, and to thin the number of people in their unofficial prisons, according to the study. Lori Hinnant, The Seattle Times, "Study: Sexual torture widespread for migrants seeking Europe," 25 Mar. 2019 The American status quo of quietly permitting private ransom payments while signaling toughness still puts money in kidnappers’ pockets. Ann Toews, WSJ, "‘We Want to Negotiate’ Review: Deal or No Deal," 21 Jan. 2019 Gerry Besana said the military is unaware of any ransom payment and added that relentless offensives pressured the kidnappers to let go of their hostages. Jim Gomez, Fox News, "Militants free 3 Indonesian hostages in southern Philippines," 16 Sep. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb When Lele Pons was 5 years old, she and her mother, who is Italian and a pediatrician, were kidnapped and ransomed, a common occurrence in some parts of Latin America. Sarah Ellison, Washington Post, "Lele Pons made millions on YouTube by turning herself into a perfectly generic social media star," 3 Oct. 2019 When Lele Pons was 5 years old, she and her mother, who is Italian and a pediatrician, were kidnapped and ransomed, a common occurrence in some parts of Latin America. cleveland, "Internet sensation Lele Pons discusses tiptoeing on social media’s tightrope," 12 Oct. 2019 The three planned for more than a year to ransom the children for $5 million from the state Board of Education. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Parole denied again for inmate in 1976 school bus hijacking," 8 Oct. 2019 The three planned for more than a year to ransom the children for $5 million from the state Board of Education. CBS News, "Parole denied again for inmate in 1976 school bus hijacking," 8 Oct. 2019 After a shady investor steals their new invention, Nick, Dale and Kurt conspire to kidnap the man’s adult son and ransom him to pay off their debts. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 1 - 7, 2019: John Wayne in ‘The Searchers’ and more," 30 Aug. 2019 Heinkel and Borelli are accused in a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court in late March of improperly impounding Bird’s scooters and then ransoming them back to the $2 billion company. Amy Martyn, The Verge, "They said you could leave electric scooters anywhere — then the repo men struck back," 24 July 2019 Seeking safe harbor, many instead end up incarcerated, hospitalized, ransomed, stranded, or sold into servitude. Matthew Wolfe, Harper's magazine, "Without a Trace," 10 Feb. 2019 Her main contact is with a wealthy woman named Charlotte (Edie Falco), whose own son was captured and later successfully ransomed. Soren Andersen, The Seattle Times, "‘Viper Club’: Susan Sarandon brings grace, heartbreaking power to hostage drama," 30 Oct. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of ransom

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ransom

Noun

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

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Time Traveler for ransom

Time Traveler

The first known use of ransom was in the 13th century

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Statistics for ransom

Last Updated

29 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ransom.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransom. Accessed 7 December 2019.

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More Definitions for ransom

ransom

noun
How to pronounce Ransom (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ransom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

ransom

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ransom (Entry 2 of 2)

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

ransom

noun
ran·​som | \ ˈran-səm How to pronounce ransom (audio) \

Kids Definition of ransom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something paid or demanded for the freedom of a captured person
2 : the act of freeing from captivity by paying a price

ransom

verb
ransomed; ransoming

Kids Definition of ransom (Entry 2 of 2)

: to free from captivity or punishment by paying a price

ransom

noun
ran·​som

Legal Definition of ransom

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Legal Definition of ransom (Entry 2 of 2)

: to free from captivity by paying a price

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More from Merriam-Webster on ransom

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ransom

Spanish Central: Translation of ransom

Nglish: Translation of ransom for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ransom for Arabic Speakers

Comments on ransom

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