|Origin:||rançon, from Latin redemptio; REDEMPTION|
an amount of money that is paid to free someone who is held as a prisoner:
The kidnappers were demanding a ransom of $250,000.
The government refused to pay the ransom.
There has still been no ransom demand.
He's got the ransom money.
2 also hold somebody to ransom British English
to keep someone prisoner until money is paid:
His daughter was kidnapped and held for ransom.
3 British English
to put someone in a situation where they have no choice and are forced to agree to your demands:
He has accused the nurses of holding the government to ransom by threatening to strike.