tr.v. re·deemed, re·deem·ing, re·deems
1. To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum: redeemed the ring from the pawnbroker.
a. To pay off (a promissory note, for example).
b. To turn in (coupons, for example) and receive something in exchange.
c. To convert into cash: redeem stocks.
3. To fulfill (a pledge, for example): "That is the unfinished work of our time, to lift the burden of race and redeem the promise of America" (Bill Clinton).
a. To set free, as from slavery or kidnapping, by providing money or other compensation.
b. To save (a person or soul) from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. See Synonyms at save1.
c. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of: You botched the last job but can redeem yourself on this one.
a. To atone for (an error or mistake): "a silence that gave Maisie a chance to redeem the mistake of pretending to know too much by the humility of inviting further correction" (Henry James).
b. To serve as compensation for; make up for: The low price of the clothes dryer redeems its lack of special features.
[Middle English redemen, from Old French redimer, from Latin redimere : re-, red-, re- + emere, to buy; see em- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus