Definition of redeem in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈdēm/


[with object]
1Compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something): a disappointing debate redeemed only by an outstanding speech (as adjective redeeming) the splendid views are the one redeeming feature of the center
More example sentences
  • His films, as a result, are often repulsive; yet they contain the occasional flash of genius that may redeem the more unpalatable aspects of his work.
  • Given that it is a film with no morally redeeming features it's quite a trick to bring your audience in like that and like I say I'm really not sure how they did it.
  • What redeems Kingston - and makes up for the noise, the squalor, the inconveniences and the heat - is the city's splendid setting.
save, compensate for the defects of, vindicate
compensating, compensatory, extenuating, redemptive;
Theology  salvific
1.1 (redeem oneself) Do something that compensates for poor past performance or behavior: they redeemed themselves in the playoffs by pushing the Detroit Red Wings to a seventh and deciding game
More example sentences
  • The show was so on its way to redeeming itself the past few weeks and then this.
  • Both sides struggled through their groups, but know they can redeem themselves with one huge performance.
  • The Cats will be looking to redeem themselves after their performance against Melbourne, losing by 48 points.
vindicate, free from blame, absolve
1.2(Of a person) atone or make amends for (error or evil): the thief on the cross who by a single act redeemed a life of evil
More example sentences
  • We venerate the cross because it has broken down our pride, shattered our envy, redeemed our sin, and atoned for our punishment.
  • I would be at her house to act like a servant to redeem my sins.
  • But, as with our slowness to believe we are sinners, so we are slow to believe sin can really be redeemed.
atone for, make amends for, make restitution for
1.3Save (someone) from sin, error, or evil: he was a sinner, redeemed by the grace of God
More example sentences
  • Even more importantly, ask him to show you the perfection of God's plan to save us and redeem us from these influences.
  • Assurance is the calmness that people sense and feel when they know that God has sent Jesus to save us and redeem us.
  • Could you please help me understand more how Mary was redeemed or saved and to be able to explain it to Catholics and non-Catholics?
save, deliver from sin, convert
2Gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment: his best suit had been redeemed from the pawnbrokers
More example sentences
  • Equally important, the Dictum offered rebels deprived of their lands the opportunity of redeeming them, for sums calculated in proportion to their involvement in the rebellion.
  • The disposal of the clan land to strangers without the consent of the clansmen is subject to the fiat that any other clan member can redeem that clan land on payment of the purchase price to the purchaser.
  • In any case, the decision to redeem the land makes no practical sense.
retrieve, regain, recover, get back, reclaim, repossess;
buy back
2.1 Finance Repay (a stock, bond, or other instrument) at the maturity date.
Example sentences
  • On January 1, 2004 you are entitled to redeem the matured bond to the issuer and receive your $1,000 initial investment.
  • These are the third and last type of Brady bonds that Bulgaria redeems before maturity.
  • Interest is exempt from state and local taxes, and you can defer paying federal taxes until you redeem your bonds.
2.2Exchange (a coupon, voucher, or trading stamp) for merchandise, a discount, or money.
Example sentences
  • Every purchase entitles the consumer to gift coupons that can be redeemed for discounts on a variety of products like beverages, hotels and the likes.
  • People had to purchase separate vouchers from the festival in order to get food from the booths; the food vendors were then to redeem the vouchers for cash after the festival.
  • One voucher can be redeemed for every £20 spent on food and drink and each voucher, whatever its face value, entitles the customer to a discount of £8.
exchange, give in exchange, cash in, convert, trade in
2.3Pay the necessary money to clear (a debt): owners were unable to redeem their mortgages
More example sentences
  • Alfa's fixed assets could not redeem its debts.
  • He paid his soldiers, scientists and architects well and insisted that all old debts were to be redeemed with new Greek coins.
  • There are wars to be fought and government debts to be redeemed.
pay off/back, clear, discharge, honor
2.4Fulfill or carry out (a pledge or promise): the party prepared to redeem the pledges of the past three years
More example sentences
  • Given the passions of the last four years, the time is long past for Bush to fully redeem his 2000 campaign pledge to be ‘a uniter not a divider.’
  • The more support I can have from the American people, the sooner that pledge can be redeemed; for the more divided we are at home, the less likely the enemy is to negotiate at Paris.
  • And then, trust the Japanese to make an opera out of what could have been a humdrum reading session with a reader, a reading lamp, and a group of people waiting for the promise to be redeemed.
fulfill, carry out, discharge, make good;
keep, keep to, stick to, hold to, adhere to, abide by, honor
2.5 archaic Buy the freedom of.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'buy back'): from Old French redimer or Latin redimere, from re(d)- 'back' + emere 'buy'.

  • ransom from Middle English:

    In medieval times a captured enemy might be released if a sum of money, or ransom, was paid, and if you held them captive and demanded such a payment you were said to hold them to ransom. The word comes from the same Latin root as redeem (Late Middle English), and redemption (Middle English) redimere ‘buy back’. See also king

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·deem

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