ransom ( ransoms plural & 3rd person present) ( ransoming present participle) ( ransomed past tense & past participle )
1 n-var A ransom is the money that has to be paid to someone so that they will set free a person they have kidnapped.
Her kidnapper successfully extorted a £175,000 ransom for her release...
2 verb If you ransom someone who has been kidnapped, you pay the money to set them free.
The same system was used for ransoming or exchanging captives. V n
3 If a kidnapper isholding someone to ransom or holding them ransom in British English, or isholding a person for ransom in American English, they keep that person prisoner until they are given what they want
hold sb to/for ransom, hold sb ransom phrase V inflects
He is charged with kidnapping a businessman last year and holding him for ransom...
4 If you say that someone is holding you to ransom in British English, or holding you for ransom in American English, you mean that they are using their power to try to force you to do something which you do not want to do.
hold sb to ransom phrase V inflects (disapproval)
Unison and the other unions have the power to hold the Government to ransom.
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"Collins Cobuild English Dictionary for Advanced Learners 4th edition published in 2003 © HarperCollins Publishers 1987, 1995, 2001, 2003 and Collins A-Z Thesaurus 1st edition first published in 1995 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995"