hold (one) to ransom

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hold (one) to ransom

To demand something or some action from someone by threatening them with a harmful consequence if they do not comply. Threatening us with a fine if we don't participate in the survey is a bit like holding us to ransom, isn't it?
See also: hold, ransom
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hold someone to ransom

BRITISH
COMMON If one person holds another to ransom, the first person uses their power or influence to force the second to do something they do not want to do. But who are the powerful men at the Bundesbank who have the power to hold Europe to ransom? Giorgio Armani, the fashion guru, refused to be held to ransom by greedy catwalk supermodels.
See also: hold, ransom, someone
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

hold someone or something to ransom

1 hold someone prisoner and demand payment for their release. 2 demand concessions from a person or organization by threatening damaging action.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

hold somebody to ˈransom


1 hold somebody as a prisoner until money has been paid for their release: The kidnappers held the little girl to ransom for more than eight hours.
2 try to force somebody to do what you want by using threats: The government said that the workers were holding the country to ransom by demanding a ten per cent pay rise.
See also: hold, ransom, somebody
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
But before he has a chance to hold her to ransom, she decides to come clean to husband Jai when he returns on Wednesday.
The gang had planned to seize stunning Maria Grazia Cucinotta, 37, who starred alongside Pierce Brosnan in The World Is Not Enough, and hold her to ransom.
To Kidnap A Princess (ITV1, Tuesday) is the true story of one man's bizarre attempt to kidnap the Queen's only daughter and hold her to ransom.
The Sunday paper had alleged that 18-year-old Charlotte was being looked after by police in a safe house while police investigated a plot by gangsters to snatch her and hold her to ransom.
When he steals Chas's mobile off her and sees incriminating texts and a photo of her in bed with Cameron, he has enough evidence to hold her to ransom.
"They are saying that they are going to hold her to ransom just like Airtours have held us to ransom.