verb (used with object)
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Origin of ransom
synonym study for ransom
OTHER WORDS FROM ransomran·som·er, nounun·ran·somed, adjective
Words nearby ransom
Definition for ransom (2 of 2)
ABOUT THIS WORD
What does ransom mean?
A ransom is the money or goods demanded to be paid in exchange for the release of a captured or kidnapped person or piece of property.
Ransom also commonly refers to the amount of money that the captor demands.
It can also refer to such an exchange or the act of releasing a person or property for a price, as in The duke’s ransom depended on his wife gathering all the money demanded.
Ransom can also be used as a verb meaning to get a person or property released by paying a price, as in I had to ransom my toy from the bully for $10.
It can also mean to release a captive after receiving a ransom, as in Each prisoner was ransomed for $500.
Less commonly, ransom can be used in a religious context to mean to redeem or deliver someone from punishment for sin, as Christians believe Jesus did.
A person who holds someone in exchange for a ransom is called a ransomer.
Ransomware is software that is illegally put on a computer and prevents users from accessing their data without paying a ransom.
Example: The kidnapper demanded a hefty ransom before he released the princess to her father.
Where does ransom come from?
The first records of the word ransom come from the 1100s. It ultimately comes from the Late Latin redēmptiō, meaning “redemption.” The verb ransom is derived from the noun usage.
Ransom is used in the idiom king’s ransom, which means a large amount of money or valuables. As you might guess, a captured king could be ransomed for a large amount of money. In fact, the German emperor Henry VI ransomed King Richard “the Lionheart” I of England in 1193 for 150,000 German marks, a huge amount of money at that time.
Today, the word ransom is often used to refer to a price that someone is demanding to safely release their prisoner or captured property. Property can include data found in a computer system, such as a person’s bank account number, passwords, or government ID number. Software that allows data to be taken for ransom is called ransomware.
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What are some other forms related to ransom?
- ransomer (noun)
- unransomed (adjective)
What are some words that share a root or word element with ransom?
What are some words that often get used in discussing ransom?
How is ransom used in real life?
Ransom is associated with kidnapping, hijacking, and data theft, but it can also be used in figurative ways.
On Tuesday at around 1:45 a.m. local time, in southern Niger, US citizen named Philipe Nathan Walton was kidnapped by 6 men with AK-47s on motorbikes, per media. The armed kidnappers called his father, who lives about a mile away, and demanded ransom, a local official said.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) October 31, 2020
Reports 29 Chinese fishermen kidnapped at sea by armed North Koreans, who are demanding ransom of $190,000
— Mark Willacy (@markwillacy) May 17, 2012
Detailed medical histories and contact information of 80K+ patients in Ontario allegedly held for ransom after data breach at CarePartners healthcare provider (CBC News) https://t.co/dM3NUjmwJT
— Richard Lemon (@RichardLemon) July 19, 2018
Try using ransom!
Is ransom used correctly in the following sentence?
The kidnappers ransomed the prisoners back to their families after receiving a large payment.
Example sentences from the Web for ransom
The Magic didn’t exactly net a king’s ransom when they traded away four veterans — Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Al-Farouq Aminu — in three deals Thursday, but their sell-off was a long time coming.The NBA’s trade deadline has come and gone. Who won and who lost?|Ben Golliver|March 26, 2021|Washington Post
Some do it for fun, while others seek to hijack systems, blackmail targets or win a lucrative ransom.Massive camera hack exposes the growing reach and intimacy of American surveillance|Drew Harwell|March 10, 2021|Washington Post
A better analogy for today’s algorithmically driven platform would be one of those ransom notes from the movies, where the kidnapper cuts out magazine letters to spell words.Disinformation Is Among the Greatest Threats to Our Democracy. Here Are Three Key Ways to Fight It|Daniel J. Rogers|March 5, 2021|Time
A Gulf State had promised to pay a huge ransom—Padnos says he was told 11 million Euros—in exchange for the American, and Abu Maria planned to be there.Islamist Terrorism Is Not Done With Us, Warns Former al Qaeda Hostage Theo Padnos|Karl Vick|February 25, 2021|Time
The leaguewide quarterback movement began last month when the Detroit Lions agreed to trade Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for fellow quarterback Jared Goff and a king’s ransom of draft choices.Eagles agree to trade quarterback Carson Wentz to the Colts for a pair of draft picks|Mark Maske|February 18, 2021|Washington Post
“I noticed something,” I say to Marvin, feeling a little like Ransom Stoddard, attorney at law.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile|Robert Ward|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
At the same time, we should expect a rise in kidnapping for ransom.To Kill the ISIS Monster You Gotta Do More Than Cut Off Its Money|Charlie Winter|November 18, 2014|DAILY BEAST
FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said that the bureau fully complies with U.S. policy as it relates to ransom payments.A 26-Year-Old Woman Is ISIS’s Last American Hostage|Shane Harris|November 17, 2014|DAILY BEAST
European governments, for their part, have long agreed to pay groups like ISIS ransom money.Foley Family to White House: You Saved Bergdahl. Why Not Our Son?|Eli Lake|October 24, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Where do you think the ransom money for Western hostages is going?Turkey’s Attitude Toward ISIS? Sympathy for the Devil|Jamie Dettmer|October 1, 2014|DAILY BEAST
For ten years now had these been riding and raiding around the walls, pillaging and holding to ransom.The Merrie Tales Of Jacques Tournebroche|Anatole France
The second were ruffians who forced their victims to pay ransom by holding their feet in fires.
The Abbot Guilbert offers three hundred silver sous for his ransom.
He quickly pointed out Bezenecq the Rich as a townsman from whom it would be easy to extract a big ransom.
Have I not offered you three hundred gold sous for my ransom, Count of Plouernel?
British Dictionary definitions for ransom (1 of 2)
- to keep (prisoners, property, etc) in confinement until payment for their release is made or received
- to attempt to force (a person or persons) to comply with one's demands
Derived forms of ransomransomer, noun
Word Origin for ransom
British Dictionary definitions for ransom (2 of 2)
Idioms and Phrases with ransom
see king's ransom.