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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, to

hold (someone) for ransom

To kidnap someone and keep them until someone else pays a demanded sum of money (a "ransom"). The kidnappers are holding my son for ransom—I'll pay any amount they want!
See also: for, hold, ransom

king's ransom

A very large sum of money. I've always wanted to vacation in Hawaii, but the plane tickets cost a king's ransom.
See also: ransom
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

hold someone for ransom

to demand money for the return of a person who has been kidnapped. The kidnappers held me for ransom, but no one would pay. We will hold Timmy for ransom and hope that the police don't find us.
See also: for, hold, ransom

*king's ransom

Fig. a great deal of money. (To pay an amount as large as one might have to pay to get back a king held for ransom. *Typically: cost ~; pay ~; spend~.) I would like to buy a nice watch, but I don't want to pay a king's ransom for it. It's a lovely house. I bet it cost a king's ransom.
See also: ransom
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

king's ransom

A huge sum of money, as in That handmade rug must have cost a king's ransom. This metaphoric expression originally referred to the sum required to release a king from captivity. [Late 1400s]
See also: ransom
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. 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, to

a king's ransom

mainly BRITISH
A king's ransom is an extremely large sum of money. She was paid a king's ransom for a five-minute appearance in the film. With so few skilled electricians available, these people can charge a king's ransom for their services.
See also: ransom
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a king's ransom

a huge amount of money; a fortune.
In feudal times prisoners of war were freed for sums in keeping with their rank, so a king, as the highest-ranking individual, commanded the greatest ransom.
See also: ransom

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

a ˌking’s ˈransom

(literary) a very large amount of money: We don’t exactly get paid a king’s ransom in this job.In the past, if a king was captured in a war, his country would pay a ransom for his release.
See also: ransom

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, to
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
They asked the victim's son to come to different places in the metropolis along with ransom amount, the officer added.
Will it still be considered kidnapping for ransom if he detains a person for purposes of collecting a debt?
The City of Baltimore, Maryland, chose not to pay a requested ransom of approximately $80,000, demanded on May 7, 2019, according to news reports.
Marwa Faizan was kidnapped in Abbottabad for Rs 5 million ransom and was killed after brutal torture when her parents failed to the ransom.
Marwa Faizan was kidnapped in Abbottabad for Rs 5 million ransom and was killed after brutal torture when parents failed in delivering the ransom payment.
The applicant said he received a call from unknown number during which the caller told him his wife has been abducted by him and also demanded Rs 1 million as ransom for her safe release.
9 appointed Ransom to the Missouri Court of Appeals Eastern District.
Brit's Kidnap for Ransom team is being led by Stephen Quinton, who joined the company in September 2018.
Bello however, could not confirm the amount of paid as ransom to secure the release of the abducted ADC leaders.
Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza welcomed the release of the victims but clarified that the government did not pay ransom in exchange for their release.
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza denied involvement in the release of a 66-year-old farmer from Abu Sayyaf captivity, which the kidnap victim said was made possible by the payment of ransom.
This is an appetizer for the initial sentences of later stories, all in David Shapiro's superb translation from Ransom's original Desaparecidos, animates y artistas (1999).
SARGODHA:A teenaged boy, kidnapped for ransom, was killed here in Satellite police limits.
Serena Marie Emily Ransom was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and put on the sex offenders' register after offences against two girls in 2015.
FAISALABAD -- Faisalabad police on Thursday claimed to have arrested a girl for faking her abduction and receiving ransom from her parents, media reported.