verb re·deem \ ri-ˈdēm \
|Updated on: 16 Aug 2018

Definition of redeem

redeemed; redeeming; redeems
1 a : to buy back : repurchase
b : to get or win back
2 : to free from what distresses or harms: such as
a : to free from captivity by payment of ransom
b : to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental
c : to release from blame or debt : clear
d : to free from the consequences of sin
3 : to change for the better : reform
5 a : to free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby
b (1) : to remove the obligation of by payment
  • the U.S. Treasury redeems savings bonds on demand
(2) : to exchange for something of value
  • redeem trading stamps
c : to make good : fulfill
6 a : to atone for : expiate
  • redeem an error
b (1) : to offset the bad effect of
(2) : to make worthwhile : retrieve


play \ri-ˈdē-mə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of redeem in a Sentence

  1. Nearly 115 million Americans clip coupons and redeem them at some point during the year. —David J. MorrowNew York Times17 Mar. 1996
  2. … nor does the book try to justify whatever is reckless about it by claiming some redeeming social or political value. —Philip RothReading Myself and Others1975
  3. She had once told Rowland that she would show him, some day, how gracious her manners could be; she was now redeeming her promise. —Henry JamesRoderick Hudson1875
  4. We had, however, redeemed … the character of our country, by showing that there was at any rate a body of persons determined to use all the means which the law afforded to obtain justice for the injured. —John Stuart MillAutobiography1874
  5. Their temporal dominion is now confirmed by the reverence of a thousand years; and their noblest title is the free choice of a people, whom they had redeemed from slavery. —Edward GibbonThe History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire1788
  6. The exciting ending partially redeems what is otherwise a very dull movie.

  7. He wants to redeem his reputation.

  8. You can redeem this coupon at any store.

  9. You have 90 days to redeem your winning lottery ticket.

  10. This voucher can be redeemed for a free meal at several local restaurants.

  11. The government will pay you interest when it redeems the bonds you bought.

  12. The company redeemed some of its stock.

Recent Examples of redeem from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'redeem.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of redeem

Middle English redemen, from Anglo-French redemer, modification of Latin redimere, from re-, red- re- + emere to take, buy; akin to Lithuanian imti to take

Synonym Discussion of redeem

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

REDEEM Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of redeem for English Language Learners

  • : to make (something that is bad, unpleasant, etc.) better or more acceptable

  • : to exchange (something, such as a coupon or lottery ticket) for money, an award, etc.

  • : to buy back (something, such as a stock or bond)

REDEEM Defined for Kids


verb re·deem \ ri-ˈdēm \

Definition of redeem for Students

1 : to make up for
  • The exciting ending redeemed the otherwise dull movie.
2 : to buy, get, or win back
  • He redeemed his honor.
3 : to make good : fulfill
  • You must redeem your promise.
4 : to exchange for something of value
  • I redeemed my tickets for a prize.
5 : to free from sin



Law Dictionary


transitive verb re·deem \ ri-ˈdēm \

legal Definition of redeem

1 a : repurchase
b : to repurchase by right and not on the open market
  • redeem preferred shares
2 a : to free from a lien or pledge usually by payment of the amount secured thereby
  • redeem collateral
b : to exercise an equity of redemption in (real property) by payment in full of a mortgage debt after default but prior to a foreclosure becoming effective
  • a right to redeem property prior to the actual sale under a judgment of foreclosure
  • Bowery Sav. Bank v. Harbert Offset Corp., 558 N.Y.S.2d 821 (1990)
— see also equity of redemption
c : to exercise a right of redemption in (real property) within the period set by law by a repurchase that voids the effect of foreclosure or sale — see also right of redemption
Note: A mortgagor with a right of redemption might redeem property within the set period following a foreclosure sale by paying the new purchaser the purchase price, interest, taxes, and lawful charges.
d : to remove the obligation of by payment (as at maturity)
  • redeem a bond
3 a : to present and have redeemed
b : to exchange for something of value
: to redeem something (as real property)
  • failed to exercise its equity of redemption, and this part of the right to redeem was therefore cut off
  • Hausman v. Dayton, 653 N.E.2d 1190 (1995)

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