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

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
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References in periodicals archive ?
We, the government, whichever government will be on the board to ensure that in fact it is brought in in a way that will see that what is happening to us now where the Mexicans all get together and basically, it's one common ownership you know...and they hold us to ransom,' he added.
The point, I am trying to make is that no contractor should hold us to ransom that because we are owing, work will not continue.
"It's awful of people put this amount of pressure on us and try to hold us to ransom. Do they want the park to close?"
I would do this by firstly bringing banks into public ownership so they cannot hold us to ransom again and then by re-nationalising the NHS and refusing to repay PFI.
Patt @Pattoon said: "Grangemouth is too valuable for Scotland to allow a single man to hold us to ransom."
WITH North Sea oil and gas reserves running out, we need an alternative to buying energy from other countries that can hold us to ransom. So extraction of shale gas must go full steam ahead.
The college was, in effect, trying to hold us to ransom - and things got worse after I complained."
The political class have got to show the guts that they will not allow the banks to hold us to ransom again.
ARSENAL have told Thierry Henry: You won't hold us to ransom, writes NEIL SILVER.
The more people like Andy Gilchrist try to hold us to ransom, the more ordinary people will lose their respect for our brave firemen.
The more people like Andy Gilchrist try to hold us to ransom and talk about bringing down the Government, the more ordinary people will lose their respect for our brave firemen.
Over the years I have paid thousands of pounds in premiums and now they want to hold us to ransom. It's disgusting."
At present we have to buy in about half of our gas but that figure is expected to increase to 75% by 2020, raising fears that gas-rich powers could hold us to ransom like Russia did with Ukraine five years ago.