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
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
The Sunday Mercury supports plans by Home Office minister Lynne Featherstone to ban firms from clamping cars on private land, and then holding them to ransom.
Despite agreeing personal terms and passing a medical this week, the 27-year-old has been accused by the Robins of holding them to ransom.
CREW members on board a hijacked oil tanker are being treated like "prisoners of war", according to one of the Somali pirates holding them to ransom.
RADIO Clyde last night accused the SPL of holding them to ransom over broadcasting rights.
COUNCILLORS in a West of Ireland town claim a gang of teenage hooligans are holding them to ransom.
HEARTS could lose out on Lee Miller because they claim Bristol City are holding them to ransom.