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 In March the football team of the University of Buea was taken hostage; many parents paid ransoms. The Economist, "English-speaking villages are burning in Cameroon," 7 Nov. 2019 Our economy has been paying the ransom while Hezbollah hides behind it. Helen Sullivan, The New Yorker, "The Making of Lebanon’s October Revolution," 29 Oct. 2019 They had been encouraged to keep her captivity secret, and discouraged from attempting to free her or pay a ransom. Karina Bland, azcentral, "Parents of Kayla Mueller grateful for death of ISIS leader who held their daughter hostage," 27 Oct. 2019 Ransomware is a malware tool that allows an attacker to lock up a computer system (or systems) until the owner pays a ransom demand. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Ransomware Attackers Target 23 Texas Towns In One Day," 19 Aug. 2019 Affected users are then asked to pay ransom -- almost always in mostly untraceable Bitcoin -- to regain control of their systems. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "20 Texas jurisdictions hit by coordinated ransomware attack, state says," 17 Aug. 2019 The county ultimately paid a ransom of $400,000 to regain control of its system. Lawrence Andrea, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin election officials consider lending new equipment to towns with outdated systems," 9 Aug. 2019 Over 225 mayors across the US have backed a resolution to not pay ransoms to hackers, as reported by The New York Times. Dani Deahl, The Verge, "Mayors around the country join forces to fight hacker ransoms," 12 July 2019 At the end of the day, people are paying the ransoms. Frances Robles, New York Times, "A City Paid a Hefty Ransom to Hackers. But Its Pains Are Far From Over.," 7 July 2019 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. 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 This financial ransoming ultimately left Haiti indebted to French and American banks until after World War II. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Is This the Most Crowded Island in the World? (And Why That Question Matters)," 20 Feb. 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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Statistics for ransom

Last Updated

15 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ransom

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

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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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