Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

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

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 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: 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

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

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

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

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.
See also: hold, ransom, something

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
References in periodicals archive ?
Fifteen Love won the race two years ago off a mark of 100 after winning the Britannia, and Ransom Note goes off the same mark today.
They also appealed to the kidnappers to release these innocent persons, as they were unable to pay ransom.
His kidnapping prompted an international police operation, involving his father handing over a Au110,000 ransom to the suspected kidnappers in Paris and the arrest of five people, three of whom were due to appear in court in Spain.
Two of them had been followed from Paris, where the ransom was handed over.
Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme said the ransom money had been delivered and the vessel freed.
According to the Navfor, the EU's naval mission, on Saturday, "a ransom drop was successfully made for the release of the Greek owned Panama-flagged bulk carrier, Navios Apollon".
Ayyoubi reportedly told the kidnapper that he would pay the ransom at Dora roundabout in Beirut.
In the process of exploring Ransom's gendered poetry and poetics, this essay will demonstrate the extent to which his work contained the seeds of the New Criticism's undoing by later critics, in the process tempering the image of the reactionary bogeyman that Ransom has become for scholars and students alike.
The ransom is likely to be huge as the cargo of timber alone is worth pounds 1million.
The allotments are overseen by cultural services and Mr Ransom said he will use the opportunity of being on television to highlight what he sees as neglect of the allotments by the council.
Mas Ayoob came up with this protocol because he travels all over the country teaching classes and can't travel with a Ransom Rest and a suitcase full of grip adapters.
Abdi Khalif Ahmed, chairman of Haradhere port local authority in central Somalia, said a ransom was paid before the pirates released the ship.
Lilly's Ransom is a good little mystery and well written.
With eight seniors on this year's roster, including right fullback Nicole Nale and sweeper Lainie Ransom, the Knights are hoping their defense can carry them to similar results.
diplomat said that he paid a ransom of US$1,000 for the release of his teenage son from kidnappers, reports AP (Dec.