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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, someone

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.

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 ?
The No More Ransom platform is now available in 26 languages, with the most recent additions Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Malay, Norwegian, Romanian, Swedish, Tamil and Thai.
A P20-million ransom had been raised for delivery to the Abu Sayyaf captors on the day Ridsdel was beheaded.
However Italian media quoted Arab reports suggesting a ransom of 12 million euros ($14 million) may have been paid to al Qaeda's Syrian wing, the Nusra Front.
We are against paying ransom," Gentiloni said, adding Italy follows "the rules and behaviors" shared by the international community.
Abu Rami, spokesperson for the Abu Sayyaf, had confirmed that his group had received the ransom money.
Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, Cameron said: "There's no doubt in my mind that the many tens of millions of dollars that Islamic State has raised from ransom payments is going into promoting terrorism, including terrorism affecting our own country.
But it is widely thought that Italy has paid ransoms for its citizens' freedom.
LONDON, Jan 27 (KUNA) -- British Foreign Secretary William Hague on Monday welcomed the unanimous adoption by the United Nations Security Council of a resolution against ransom payments to terrorists.
Krikor Toshiyan, who was held in Syria, was freed in return for a ransom of $50,000.
Over the past several months, our firm has seen a significant increase in kidnap and ransom plan sales, as many agents have started recognizing the travel patterns of their clients and have begun to advise them of this coverage.
The rebels, who previously collected Zakat and Usher from shepherds and growers, are now kidnapping people and government employees for ransom, he claimed.
Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) has relied on large ransoms from kidnappings of foreigners in northern Africa to fund its violent campaigns, Benjamin told a news conference.
Somali pirates released a Singaporean-flagged chemical tanker MV Pramoni they had hijacked in the Gulf of Aden on January 1 after a ransom was paid, maritime officials said.
Similar ransoms have been paid subsequently for the release of merchant vessels.
Curiously, Ransoms gendered assessment of aesthetics dovetails with Dewey's own ambivalence concerning women's roles by the early 1930s.