- The release of a captive, or of captured property, by payment of a consideration.
- Money paid for the freeing of a hostage.
"They were held to ransom."
- (historical, law, Britain) A sum paid for the pardon of some great offence and the discharge of the offender; also, a fine paid in lieu of corporal punishment.
"They were held for two million dollars ransom."
- To pay a price to set someone free from captivity or punishment.
"to ransom prisoners from an enemy"
- (14th century) To deliver, especially in context of sin or relevant penalties.
- 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."