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[ran-suh m] /ˈræn səm/
John Crowe
[kroh] /kroʊ/ (Show IPA),
1888–1974, U.S. poet, critic, and teacher. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for john ransom


the release of captured prisoners, property, etc, on payment of a stipulated price
the price demanded or stipulated for such a release
rescue or redemption of any kind
hold to ransom
  1. to keep (prisoners, property, etc) in confinement until payment for their release is made or received
  2. to attempt to force (a person or persons) to comply with one's demands
a king's ransom, a very large amount of money or valuables
verb (transitive)
to pay a stipulated price and so obtain the release of (prisoners, property, etc)
to set free (prisoners, property, etc) upon receiving the payment demanded
to redeem; rescue: Christ ransomed men from sin
Derived Forms
ransomer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French ransoun, from Latin redemptiō a buying back, redemption


John Crowe. 1888–1974, US poet and critic
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for john ransom



c.1200, "sum paid for the release of a prisoner or captured man," from Old French ranson (Modern French rançon), earlier raenson "ransom, redemption," from Latin redemptionem (nominative redemptio) "a redeeming," from redimere (see redeem).

early 14c., from ransom (n.). Related: Ransomed; ransoming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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john ransom in the Bible

the price or payment made for our redemption, as when it is said that the Son of man "gave his life a ransom for many" (Matt. 20:28; comp. Acts 20:28; Rom. 3:23, 24; 1 Cor. 6:19, 20; Gal. 3:13; 4:4, 5: Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19. In all these passages the same idea is expressed). This word is derived from the Fr. rancon; Lat. redemptio. The debt is represented not as cancelled but as fully paid. The slave or captive is not liberated by a mere gratuitous favour, but a ransom price has been paid, in consideration of which he is set free. The original owner receives back his alienated and lost possession because he has bought it back "with a price." This price or ransom (Gr. lutron) is always said to be Christ, his blood, his death. He secures our redemption by the payment of a ransom. (See REDEMPTION.)

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Idioms and Phrases with john ransom


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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