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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce ransom (audio)

Dictionary definition of ransom

The payment of money or other valuable consideration to secure the release of a person who has been kidnapped or taken hostage.
"The kidnappers were apprehended while attempting to collect the ransom payment."

Detailed meaning of ransom

It is a payment made to a kidnapper, abductor or other captor in exchange for the safe release of a kidnapped person. Ransom is a form of extortion and is considered illegal in most countries. Ransom payments can be made by the victim's family, friends or employers, and sometimes by the government or other organizations. In some cases, the kidnapper may also demand non-monetary items such as political concessions or the release of other prisoners as a condition of release.
Ransom can also be used in other contexts, such as in the case of malware attacks on computer systems, where the attacker demands payment in exchange for returning control of the affected systems or for providing a decryption key to unlock encrypted data.
In general, paying ransom is not recommended as it can lead to more kidnappings or attacks and could also finance criminal activities.

Example sentences containing ransom

1. The kidnappers demanded a hefty ransom for the safe return of the businessman.
2. Negotiations for the hostage's release focused on the ransom amount.
3. The family raised the ransom money to secure their loved one's freedom.
4. The authorities worked tirelessly to trace the ransom payment.
5. Paying a ransom can be a dangerous precedent in dealing with kidnappers.
6. The ransom note was chilling, demanding an exorbitant sum.

History and etymology of ransom

The noun 'ransom' has an etymology that can be traced back to Old French and Latin. It is derived from the Old French word 'ranson,' which means 'redemption' or 'ransom,' and it was influenced by the Latin term 'redemptio,' meaning 'a buying back' or 'a redemption.' In Latin, 'redemptio' was used to describe the act of buying back or redeeming something, often in the context of freeing a person from captivity or bondage. 'Ransom' entered the English language in the 14th century and is used to describe the payment of money or other valuable consideration to secure the release of a person who has been kidnapped or taken hostage. Its etymology underscores the idea of redemption and the act of buying back one's freedom, as implied by its Old French and Latin roots in 'ranson' and 'redemptio,' highlighting the historical practice of paying to secure the release of individuals from captivity or danger.

Quiz: Find the meaning of ransom

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Further usage examples of ransom

1. He was held captive until the ransom was paid by his employer.
2. The government refused to negotiate with terrorists for a ransom.
3. The ransom drop-off location was carefully selected to ensure safety.
4. The family's relief was palpable upon the successful payment of the ransom.
5. Negotiating a lower ransom amount was a delicate process.
6. The kidnappers threatened harm if the ransom wasn't delivered promptly.
7. Ransoms are often paid through intermediaries to protect identities.
8. The news of the ransom payment spread quickly, sparking debates.
9. Hostages are often subjected to psychological torment until the ransom is met.
10. The authorities tracked the source of the ransom funds to apprehend the criminals.
11. Kidnappings for ransom are a prevalent issue in certain regions.
12. The victim's survival depended on the timely delivery of the ransom.
13. Ransom negotiations can be protracted and emotionally draining.
14. The family emptied their savings to meet the kidnappers' ransom demand.
15. The police were vigilant in preventing further kidnappings for ransom.
16. The company had a policy against paying ransoms to deter future incidents.
17. The government issued a warning against travel to areas known for ransom kidnappings.
18. Ransomware attacks on businesses are becoming increasingly common.
19. Rescuing hostages without paying a ransom requires careful planning.



payoff, free, release, liberate


Turmoil and Treachery, Damage and Destruction, Criminal Justice and Penalties, Crime and Lawlessness

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