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

hold someone to ransom

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

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.

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
References in classic literature ?
Or, again, one might seize the other round the middle, pluck him off his horse and bear him to the pavilion, there to hold him to ransom.
WANTAWAY winger Marvin Johnson last night begged Motherwell not to hold him to ransom in the final few hours of the transfer window.
According to The Sun, Italian cops warned that Macedonian gangsters planned to hold him to ransom.
So they hatch a plan to kidnap Tom and hold him to ransom for pounds 2.
The defendants are accused of plotting to kidnap Hartlepool labourer Tony Pattison, 46, and hold him to ransom.
Three Britons appeared in a New Zealand court yesterday charged with plotting to kidnap a prominent businessmen and hold him to ransom in a bunker.