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 Ransomware was a significant threat, with individual attacks holding computer data hostage for prices as high as $12.5 million -- a massive increase over the ransoms seen previously, according to Meyers. Alyza Sebenius, Bloomberg.com, "U.S. Adversaries Are Getting Even Better at Hacking, Crowdstrike Says," 10 May 2020 The film revolves around the theft of his corpse and the increasingly dismal chances of getting some sort of ransom for it. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Rene Auberjonois shines in one of his final roles in Arizona-made film 'Raising Buchanan'," 6 May 2020 The episode also included reporting by Emily Green, who used recordings of cartels attempting to negotiate ransom for a father and son who had been kidnapped immediately after returning to Mexico. New York Times, "Pulitzer Prize: 2020 Winners List," 4 May 2020 With its entire network tied up, leaders had a choice of either paying the ransom or losing their data forever. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "LockBit, the new ransomware for hire: A sad and cautionary tale," 30 Apr. 2020 One gig detailed the kidnapping and ransom of a high-profile tech professional (Enrico Colantoni), but the deal quickly soured when the app instructed Caleb and Francis to turn on each other in exchange for millions of dollars. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "So, Who Exactly Was Kid Cudi’s Westworld Character & Is He Really Dead?," 28 Apr. 2020 The Coen Brothers' 1998 cult classic is an offbeat crime caper about a shaggy, White Russian-swilling stoner named The Dude (Jeff Bridges) who gets pulled into a ransom scheme involving a rich philanthropist's two-timing trophy wife (Tara Reid). Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Happy 4/20! The best stoner movies and TV shows you can watch right now," 20 Apr. 2020 Hajj was suspended until the Abbasids, a dynasty that ruled over a vast empire stretching across North Africa, the Middle East to modern-day India from A.D. 750-1258, paid a ransom for its return over 20 years later. Ken Chitwood, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Pandemic Isn’t the First Time the Hajj Has Been Disrupted for Muslims," 23 Apr. 2020 Ransomware attacks on hospitals are common, because scammers hope that the urgent need to function will push administrators to simply pay the ransom. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, "Coronavirus Sets the Stage for Hacking Mayhem," 19 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The attacks, officials say, revealed gaping security holes that could be exploited by those looking to disrupt voting by locking up and ransoming voter rolls or simply cutting power at critical polling centers on Election Day. Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, "‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020," 10 Jan. 2020 The attacks, officials say, revealed gaping security holes that could be exploited by those looking to disrupt voting by locking up and ransoming voter rolls or simply cutting power at critical polling centers on Election Day. Matthew Rosenberg, New York Times, "‘Chaos Is the Point’: Russian Hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier in 2020," 10 Jan. 2020 The attacks, officials say, revealed gaping security holes that could be exploited by those looking to disrupt voting by locking up and ransoming voter rolls or simply cutting power at critical polling centers on Election Day. Matthew Rosenberg, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Chaos is the point’: Russian hackers and trolls grow stealthier in 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 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. 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

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

16 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ransom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransom. Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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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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