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 ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.