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

redeem

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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

The homeowners either paid an acceptable ransom for the removal of the toilet or paid extra to transport the unflattering item elsewhere. Dennis Hohenberger, courant.com, "Leos Introduce ‘Star Spangled’ Fundraising Drive For 2019," 5 Sep. 2019 The average ransom payout in the second quarter of this year was $36,295, according to a report by Coveware. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Ransomware attacks on the rise — and small towns are in the crosshairs," 4 Sep. 2019 Yet a recent survey from Foley's foundation shows hostage families still want better clarity on U.S. policies and laws, including on ransom and just how far immunity from prosecution will extend. 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 Plus, given that the tracks had already made their way online and been extensively catalogued by Redditors last week, both asking for a ransom or officially releasing the tracks was largely a moot point. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Radiohead officially releases stolen OK Computer studio sessions to avoid ransom," 11 June 2019 Nayeri, 40, is being tried on charges of kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary in the 2012 abduction of the man and his female roommate by masked captors. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Defense claims Hossein Nayeri’s ex-wife is a liar working with police to frame him in kidnap and torture case," 9 Aug. 2019 District officials did not specify the total cost of regaining access, identify the insurer or confirm that any of the money was for ransom, the newspaper reported. New York Times, "Hackers’ Latest Target: School Districts," 28 July 2019 The bag's owner reported the theft, and the plainclothes officers were sent to the site of the rendezvous to allegedly turn over the bag for ransom, the statement said. Giada Zampano And Frances D'emilio, chicagotribune.com, "Italian officials say 2 American teenagers confess in slaying of Rome policeman after drug deal gone wrong," 27 July 2019 The jury found Lin guilty of kidnapping for ransom, a felony that carries a sentence of seven years to life in prison, following five hours of deliberation. Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, "‘Mastermind’ of 1995 Hillsborough kidnapping found guilty," 12 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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 Louis was ransomed and the original plan had to be abandoned. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Fear of Foreign Food May Have Led to the Death of This Crusader King," 26 June 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

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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Learn More about ransom

Dictionary Entries near ransom

ransack

ransackle

ransel

ransom

Ransom

ransomable

ransom bill

Statistics for ransom

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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