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 ?
We need to build up our own manufacturing base again, and not be so reliant on Europe pulling our strings and holding us to ransom.
I was so hurt by that - holding us to ransom so obviously and using her children to obtain money.
It is more like a World Health Service and today the French are holding us to ransom if we do not take more of these migrants from Calais.
One final year English language student said: "They're not taking it out on the people making the changes, instead they're holding us to ransom."
"I feel like the reason they've done this now is to have such a massive impact, but they're not taking it out on the people making the changes, instead they're holding us to ransom, making it our problem, when we're the ones who have turned up to lectures all year, we're the ones paying PS27,000 for our education."
He's not trying to nick out of a contract or holding us to ransom, he's just exploring what's out there which I think is right for him and his family.
There are no ifs or buts - fuel companies are holding us to ransom.
We were told years ago that the unions were holding us to ransom. What do you think the ConDems are doing now?
He said: "There is a difference between holding us to account and holding us to ransom."I'm confident now the Lib Dems and Tories can be seen as one.
"I think it's so unjust that they think they can get away with it - they're holding us to ransom." But a Monarch spokesman said all its flights were non-refundable and name and date changes would incur an administration charge.
It's an absolute disgrace - a utility company holding us to ransom when we're trying to save lives and protect property.
Opec ministers were meeting in Beirut to discuss proposals to step up production to cut prices and ease fears of a worldwide crisis.: COMMENT: SEE Page 10: HOLDING US TO RANSOM:Spiralling fuel prices are a menace to us all but it does not mean we should support fuel protests.
We are now in a position where the firemen are holding us to ransom and the Government is trying to blackmail them into surrender.
"Our Government is holding us to ransom, using delaying tactics to stop us getting legal funding and parity," said Julie Hambleton, who leads the Justice4the21 campaign and lost her 18-year-old sister Maxine in the blasts.
She was rumoured to be livid after Kimberley Walsh hit out at her in her book A Whole Lot of History, revealing: "The rest of us had felt she was holding us to ransom and, with the constant whispers of Nadine's imminent solo deal, we felt as if she was calling the shots and that the band's future was in her hands."