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hold someone for ransom

to demand money for the return of a person who has been kidnapped. The kidnappers held me for ransom, but no one would pay. We will hold Timmy for ransom and hope that the police don't find us.
See also: hold, ransom

*king's ransom

Fig. a great deal of money. (To pay an amount as large as one might have to pay to get back a king held for ransom. *Typically: cost ~; pay ~; spend~.) I would like to buy a nice watch, but I don't want to pay a king's ransom for it. It's a lovely house. I bet it cost a king's ransom.
See also: ransom

a king's ransom

a large amount of money A visit to one of those amusement parks can cost a king's ransom.
Usage notes: often used with worth or cost, as in the example
See also: ransom

hold somebody to ransom

to force someone to do something by putting them in a situation where something bad will happen to them if they do not Some people regarded the miners' strike as the union holding the nation to ransom.
See also: hold, ransom

a king's ransom

a very large amount of money (not used with the ) She was wearing a diamond necklace which must have been worth a king's ransom.
See also: ransom

king's ransom

A huge sum of money, as in That handmade rug must have cost a king's ransom. This metaphoric expression originally referred to the sum required to release a king from captivity. [Late 1400s]
See also: ransom
References in periodicals archive ?
Fifteen Love won the race two years ago off a mark of 100 after winning the Britannia, and Ransom Note goes off the same mark today.
They also appealed to the kidnappers to release these innocent persons, as they were unable to pay ransom.
His kidnapping prompted an international police operation, involving his father handing over a Au110,000 ransom to the suspected kidnappers in Paris and the arrest of five people, three of whom were due to appear in court in Spain.
Two of them had been followed from Paris, where the ransom was handed over.
Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme said the ransom money had been delivered and the vessel freed.
According to the Navfor, the EU's naval mission, on Saturday, "a ransom drop was successfully made for the release of the Greek owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier, Navios Apollon".
Ayyoubi reportedly told the kidnapper that he would pay the ransom at Dora roundabout in Beirut.
In the process of exploring Ransom's gendered poetry and poetics, this essay will demonstrate the extent to which his work contained the seeds of the New Criticism's undoing by later critics, in the process tempering the image of the reactionary bogeyman that Ransom has become for scholars and students alike.
The ransom is likely to be huge as the cargo of timber alone is worth pounds 1million.
The allotments are overseen by cultural services and Mr Ransom said he will use the opportunity of being on television to highlight what he sees as neglect of the allotments by the council.
Mas Ayoob came up with this protocol because he travels all over the country teaching classes and can't travel with a Ransom Rest and a suitcase full of grip adapters.
Abdi Khalif Ahmed, chairman of Haradhere port local authority in central Somalia, said a ransom was paid before the pirates released the ship.
Lilly's Ransom is a good little mystery and well written.
With eight seniors on this year's roster, including right fullback Nicole Nale and sweeper Lainie Ransom, the Knights are hoping their defense can carry them to similar results.
diplomat said that he paid a ransom of US$1,000 for the release of his teenage son from kidnappers, reports AP (Dec.