The name Ransom is Old English in origin specifically from the Norman conquest. Ralf de Tankerville was the chamberlain for William the Conqueror, and from his name a number of given names were derived. From Ralf came: Raff, Ralph, Rand, Randall, Randolph, Rankin, Ransom, Ranson, Rawlings, Rawson and Rawle. The coat of arms is blue on a gold chevron, three red roses with a square at top left of ermine adornment all centered around a hawk's head holding a gold ring.

In modern time Ransom has come to mean redeemer, or son of the shield. The name Ransom can be found labeling universities, companies, libraries and hospitals. There is a Fort Ransom and Ransom county in Nevada. The Oldsmobile is named after Ransom Eli Olds. A 1996 film starring Mel Gibson and directed by Ron Howard was titled Ransom. The name is nearly impossible to separate from its common definition, which is the act of holding or kidnapping someone in exchange for a sum of money.

Ran"som (?), n. [OE. raunson, raunsoun, OF. rançon, raençon, raançon, F. rançon, fr. L. redemptio, fr. redimere to redeem. See Redeem, and cf. Redemption.]


The release of a captive, or of captive, or of captured property, by payment of a consideration; redemption; as, prisoners hopeless of ransom.



The money or price paid for the redemption of a prisoner, or for goods captured by an enemy; payment for freedom from restraint, penalty, or forfeit.

Thy ransom paid, which man from death redeems. Milton.

His captivity in Austria, and the heavy ransom he paid for his liberty. Sir J. Davies.

3. O. Eng.Law

A sum paid for the pardon of some great offense and the discharge of the offender; also, a fine paid in lieu of corporal punishment.


Ransom bill Law, a war contract, valid by the law of nations, for the ransom of property captured at sea and its safe conduct into port.



© Webster 1913.

Ran"som, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ransomed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Ransoming.] [Cf. F. rançonner. See Ransom, n.]


To redeem from captivity, servitude, punishment, or forfeit, by paying a price; to buy out of servitude or penalty; to rescue; to deliver; as, to ransom prisoners from an enemy.


To exact a ransom for, or a payment on.


Such lands as he had rule of he ransomed them so grievously, and would tax the men two or three times in a year. Berners.


© Webster 1913.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.