(redirected from ransoms)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Idioms, Encyclopedia.


1) n. money paid to a kidnapper in demand for the release of the person abducted. Ransom money can also be paid to return a valuable object such as a stolen painting. 2) v. to pay money to an abductor to return the person held captive. (See: kidnapping, abduction)

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

RANSOM, contracts, war. An agreement made between the commander of a capturing vessel with the commander of a vanquished vessel, at sea, by which the former permits the latter to depart with his vessel, and gives him a safe conduct, in consideration of a sum of money, which the commander of the vanquished vessel, in his own name, and in the name of the owners of his vessel and cargo, promises to pay at a future time named, to the other.
     2. This contract is usually made in writing in duplicate, one of which is kept by the vanquished vessel which is its safe conduct; and the other by the conquering vessel, which is properly called ransom bill.
     3. This contract, when made in good faith, and not locally prohibited, is valid, and may be enforced. Such contracts have never been prohibited in this country. 1 Kent, Com. 105. In England they are generally forbidden. Chit. Law of Nat. 90 91; Poth. Tr. du Dr. de Propr. n. 127. Vide 2 Bro. Civ. Law, 260; Wesk. 435; 7 Com. Dig. 201; Marsh. Ins. 431; 2 Dall. 15; 15 John. 6; 3 Burr. 1734. The money paid for the redemption of such property is also called the ransom.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
On March 10, an Insurance executive in Korea told nearly 100 ship owners they are exposing their crews to risk as they struggle to pay escalating ransom demands.
CRI reports that all of the kidnappings have resulted in ransoms of $350,000 to more than $1 million.
Aventajado denied that the ransoms were paid in the protracted negotiations to free the hostages.
Ordinarily, such home repairs might indeed be a smart move on the Ransoms' part, especially since both have backgrounds in architecture and home renovation.
The payment of ransoms to Somali pirates is a sensitive subject.
The Philippines maintains its position to refuse to pay ransom to Muslim extremists holding 21 mostly foreign hostages in the southern Philippines, but it will not stop foreign governments from paying ransoms for their nationals, Philippine Foreign Secretary Domingo Siazon said Tuesday.
So far, these tools have managed to decrypt more than 28,000 devices, depriving cybercriminals of an estimated eight million in ransoms.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who first broke the news of the beheading, said his country will not pay ransoms for the release of its citizens following Ridsdel's gruesome killing.
The United States has pressed European allies not to pay ransoms.
A report from Middle Eastern media that Italy had paid $12 million to free 21-year-old Greta Ramelli and 20-year-old Vanessa Marzullo sparked debate in Italy about financing terrorism through ransoms. Northern League leader Matteo Salvini said, if true, such a payment would be "grotesque."
Last year, the group released retired Australian soldier Warren Rodwell and Jordanian journalist Baker Atyani after ransoms were reportedly paid.
DAVID CAMERON has insisted Britain will refuse to pay ransoms to terrorists in return for the release of hostages.