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 At first, the police treated the matter as a straightforward kidnapping and ransom case, and asked Norwegian news media to remain silent. Thomas Erdbrink, BostonGlobe.com, "A mogul’s wife vanishes. Now Norway has a national obsession.," 16 May 2020 In the months prior to the coronavirus outbreak, some ransomware attackers had started to steal hacked companies’ data and threaten to publish it online unless victims paid ransom fees. Catherine Stupp, WSJ, "Hackers Change Ransomware Tactics to Exploit Coronavirus Crisis," 14 May 2020 The problem, Ruth learns, is that there’s not a big ransom market for such a footnote to history. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "Rene Auberjonois shines in one of his final roles in Arizona-made film 'Raising Buchanan'," 6 May 2020 When El Salvador erupted for a second time half a century later, the coffee barons were under siege again; James Hill’s grandson, Jaime Hill, was kidnapped by rebels and held for a multimillion-dollar ransom, which the family had no trouble paying. Michael Pollan, The Atlantic, "Capitalism’s Favorite Drug," 6 Apr. 2020 Wandering afield poses a danger: Matamoros, like other Mexican border towns, is a hub for extortion gangs that regularly kidnap migrants and demand ransoms from U.S. relatives, under threat of death. Los Angeles Times, "Aid workers seek to avoid coronavirus outbreak at Matamoros migrant camp," 5 Apr. 2020 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 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

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ransom.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ransom. Accessed 1 Jun. 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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