What does ransom mean?

Definitions for ransomˈræn səm

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word ransom.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. ransom, ransom money(noun)

    money demanded for the return of a captured person

  2. ransom(noun)

    payment for the release of someone

  3. ransom(verb)

    the act of freeing from captivity or punishment

  4. ransom, redeem(verb)

    exchange or buy back for money; under threat


  1. ransom(Noun)

    Money paid for the freeing of a hostage.

  2. ransom(Verb)

    To deliver, especially in context of sin or relevant penalties.

  3. ransom(Verb)

    To pay a price to set someone free from captivity or punishment.

    to ransom prisoners from an enemy

  4. ransom(Verb)

    To exact a ransom for, or a payment on.

    Such lands as he had rule of he ransomed them so grievously, and would tax the men two or three times in a year. uE000176397uE001 Berners.

  5. Origin: From the ransoun, from the rançon, from stem of redemptio. (See redemption.) Entered English ca. the 13th century

Webster Dictionary

  1. Ransom(noun)

    the release of a captive, or of captured property, by payment of a consideration; redemption; as, prisoners hopeless of ransom

  2. Ransom(noun)

    the money or price paid for the redemption of a prisoner, or for goods captured by an enemy; payment for freedom from restraint, penalty, or forfeit

  3. Ransom(noun)

    a sum paid for the pardon of some great offense and the discharge of the offender; also, a fine paid in lieu of corporal punishment

  4. Ransom(noun)

    to redeem from captivity, servitude, punishment, or forfeit, by paying a price; to buy out of servitude or penalty; to rescue; to deliver; as, to ransom prisoners from an enemy

  5. Ransom(noun)

    to exact a ransom for, or a payment on

  6. Origin: [OE. raunson, raunsoun, OF. ranon, raenon, raanon, F. ranon, fr. L. redemptio, fr. redimere to redeem. See Redeem, and cf. Redemption.]


  1. Ransom

    Ransom is the practice of holding a prisoner or item to extort money or property to secure their release, or it can refer to the sum of money involved. In an early German law, a similar concept was called bad influence. Julius Caesar was captured by pirates near the island of Pharmacusa, and held until someone paid 50 talents to free him. In Europe during the Middle Ages, ransom became an important custom of chivalric warfare. An important knight, especially nobility or royalty, was worth a significant sum of money if captured, but nothing if he was killed. For this reason, the practice of ransom contributed to the development of heraldry, which allowed knights to advertise their identities, and by implication their ransom value, and made them less likely to be killed out of hand. Examples include Richard the Lion Heart and Bertrand du Guesclin. When ransom means "payment", the word comes via Old French rançon from Latin redemptio = "buying back": compare "redemption". In Judaism ransom is called kofer-nefesh. Among other uses, the word was applied to the poll tax of a half shekel to be paid by every male above twenty years at the census. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro was paid a ransom amounting to a roomful of gold by the Inca Empire before having their leader Atahualpa, his victim, executed in a ridiculous trial. The ransom payment received by Pizarro is recognized as the largest ever paid to a single individual, probably over $2 billion in today's economic markets.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Ransom

    ran′sum, n. price paid for redemption from captivity or punishment: release from captivity: atonement: expiation.—v.t. to redeem from captivity, punishment, or ownership: (Shak.) to set free for a price: (Shak.) to expiate.—adj. Ran′somable.—n. Ran′somer.—adj. Ran′somless, without ransom: incapable of being ransomed. [Fr. rançon—L. redemptio; cf. Redemption.]

Suggested Resources

  1. ransom

    Song lyrics by ransom -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by ransom on the Lyrics.com website.

Anagrams for ransom »

  1. Romans

  2. normas

  3. manors

  4. ramson

  5. morans


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of ransom in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of ransom in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Vallejo Police Lt. Kenny Park:

    All I can tell is there was a ransom demand.

  2. H. L. Mencken:

    Alimony: the ransom the happy pay to the devil.

  3. State Department spokesman John Kirby:

    We just don’t pay ransom. … This was not ransom.

  4. Diane Foley:

    We were told we could not raise ransom, that it was illegal. We might be prosecuted.

  5. Abed Awad:

    The taking of hostages and demanding ransom goes against the moral dictates of the Koran.

Images & Illustrations of ransom

  1. ransomransomransom

Translations for ransom

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for ransom »


Find a translation for the ransom definition in other languages:

Select another language:

Discuss these ransom definitions with the community:

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:     


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"ransom." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 21 Mar. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/ransom>.

Are we missing a good definition for ransom? Don't keep it to yourself...

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for ransom:

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.