Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Money paid for the freeing of a hostage.
- They were held for 2 million dollars ransom.
- They were held to ransom.
- 2010, Caroline Alexander, The War That Killed Achilles: The True Story of Homer's Iliad:
- As rich as was the ransom Priam paid for Hektor, Hermes says, his remaining sons at Troy “'would give three times as much ransom / for you, who are alive, were Atreus' son Agamemnon / to recognize you.'”
money paid for the freeing of a hostage
- (14th century) To deliver, especially in context of sin or relevant penalties.
- To pay a price to set someone free from captivity or punishment.
- to ransom prisoners from an enemy
- 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. — Berners.
to pay a price to set someone free
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary: Tenth Edition 1997