Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The release of property or a person in return for payment of a demanded price.
  • noun The price or payment demanded or paid for such release.
  • noun Christianity A redemption from sin and its consequences.
  • transitive verb To obtain the release of by paying a certain price.
  • transitive verb To release after receiving such a payment.
  • transitive verb Christianity To deliver from sin and its consequences.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To redeem from captivity, bondage, forfeit, or punishment by paying or giving in return that which is demanded; buy out of servitude; buy off from penalty.
  • To redeem; rescue; deliver.
  • To hold at ransom; demand or accept a ransom for; exact payment on.
  • To set free for a price; give up the custody of on receipt of a consideration.
  • To atone for; expiate.
  • noun Redemption for a price; a holding for redemption; also, release from captivity, bondage, or the possession of an enemy for a consideration; liberation on payment or satisfaction of the price demanded.
  • noun The money or price awarded or paid for the redemption of a prisoner, captive, or slave, or for goods captured by an enemy; payment for liberation from restraint, penalty, or punishment.
  • noun Atonement; expiation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The release of a captive, or of captured property, by payment of a consideration; redemption.
  • noun The money or price paid for the redemption of a prisoner, or for goods captured by an enemy; payment for freedom from restraint, penalty, or forfeit.
  • noun (O. Eng. Law) A sum paid for the pardon of some great offense and the discharge of the offender; also, a fine paid in lieu of corporal punishment.
  • noun (Law) a war contract, valid by the law of nations, for the ransom of property captured at sea and its safe conduct into port.
  • transitive verb To redeem from captivity, servitude, punishment, or forfeit, by paying a price; to buy out of servitude or penalty; to rescue; to deliver.
  • transitive verb rare To exact a ransom for, or a payment on.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Money paid for the freeing of a hostage.
  • verb To deliver, especially in context of sin or relevant penalties.
  • verb To pay a price to set someone free from captivity or punishment.
  • verb To exact a ransom for, or a payment on.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb exchange or buy back for money; under threat
  • noun payment for the release of someone
  • noun the act of freeing from captivity or punishment
  • noun money demanded for the return of a captured person

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English ransome, from Old French rançon, from Latin redēmptiō, redēmptiōn-, a buying back; see redemption.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From the Middle English ransoun, from the Old French rançon, from stem of Latin redemptio. (See redemption.) Entered English ca. the 13th century

Examples

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