Definition of redeem in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Compensate for the faults or bad aspects of (something)

    ‘a disappointing debate redeemed only by an outstanding speech’
    ‘the splendid views are the one redeeming feature of the center’
    • ‘It's a spartan, occasionally pretentious piece of work, but more than redeemed by two elegant central performances.’
    • ‘It's hard to see that he has even a single redeeming quality.’
    • ‘The song rambles on without a single redeeming characteristic or the slightest hint of a melody.’
    • ‘What redeems Kingston - and makes up for the noise, the squalor, the inconveniences and the heat - is the city's splendid setting.’
    • ‘Marginally redeemed by some passable smooth-jazz inflections in its arrangement, I dare say this might have gone down well at a Rotary Club dinner-dance in 1978.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is a fantastic disc, which completely redeems the first one.’
    • ‘What redeems the weaker poetry and prose - and most of it is sharp, resilient, funny - is that it's not in the least pompous.’
    • ‘Mitnick is portrayed as a fat, annoying and somewhat evil man with few redeeming qualities.’
    • ‘Those, Stauffenberg among them, who saw the plot as a means of redeeming the Army's reputation, accordingly found themselves in a fix.’
    • ‘However, we did feel this was partially redeemed with our election editorial which has now had a whopping 10,000-plus page views.’
    • ‘The analysis of ‘class’ also becomes tedious at times, but is redeemed by some good discussion of the reaction of the rest of Scottish society to the Left's strident politics of class war.’
    • ‘However, ‘Reloaded’ was redeemed by jaw-dropping special effects and fantastic fight sequences.’
    • ‘The synthesizer may have been redeemed, but these weren't.’
    • ‘This is partially redeemed by seeing battle-hardened characters acquire new powers, and by the suitably far-fetched narrative sequences.’
    compensating, compensatory, extenuating, offsetting, qualifying, redemptive
    save, compensate for the defects of, rescue, justify, vindicate
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    1. 1.1redeem 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’
      • ‘Adrian reaches new levels of hopelessness, but seemingly redeems himself at the end.’
      • ‘A few will relish the opportunity of redeeming themselves on a bigger stage.’
      • ‘Although she redeems herself with a nice outside shot, she can make some sketchy decisions, too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘McGregor then went some way towards redeeming himself for his earlier blunder when he put the breaks on a superb four-man move.’
      • ‘I know it's not over yet, but I really don't see them redeeming themselves in the little time left.’
      • ‘It's not about redeeming herself, it's about getting back to what she does best.’
      • ‘‘The players have redeemed themselves with their resolve,’ he said.’
      • ‘The show was so on its way to redeeming itself the past few weeks and then this.’
      vindicate, free from blame, save from blame, absolve, remove guilt from
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    2. 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’
      • ‘I would be at her house to act like a servant to redeem my sins.’
      • ‘He strongly believed that ‘paying to redeem one's sins’ is not the right approach to heaven.’
      • ‘We venerate the cross because it has broken down our pride, shattered our envy, redeemed our sin, and atoned for our punishment.’
      • ‘But, as with our slowness to believe we are sinners, so we are slow to believe sin can really be redeemed.’
      • ‘Whatever it is, I am sure that it will be for the redeeming of the evil thing that has happened - that is the way the God of love works.’
      atone for, make amends for, make restitution for
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    3. 1.3 Save (someone) from sin, error, or evil.
      ‘he was a sinner, redeemed by the grace of God’
      • ‘Only Jesus can redeem us and bring us into his holiness.’
      • ‘At least there are nice people like you to redeem me.’
      • ‘Lift up your head and be glad that he has redeemed you and now calls you to let this joy of yours radiate to others throughout the day!’
      • ‘They had betrayed his trust by falling into sin but had been redeemed by the divine mission of Jesus.’
      • ‘Assurance is the calmness that people sense and feel when they know that God has sent Jesus to save us and redeem us.’
      • ‘We will not remember who created and who redeemed us.’
      • ‘Will the gift redeem John and save him from the chair?’
      • ‘Christians claim that Christ came to redeem us from the inheritance of Adam.’
      • ‘Thank you for sending your Son into the world to redeem us.’
      • ‘It is his ministry that redeems men and women who have sinned against God, and ‘buys them back’ from death and hell.’
      • ‘When Jesus called Matthew into a new life, God redeemed him.’
      • ‘He redeemed us in Christ and he has sealed his own covenant with his people.’
      • ‘They denied that God's promise to redeem humanity was a promise to redeem us body and soul.’
      • ‘Can such an evil character possibly be redeemed?’
      • ‘Only by scourging ourselves and retreating to some bizarre ascetic vision of humanity can we be redeemed.’
      • ‘God is perceived as the savior who can redeem the believer from his or her own sins.’
      • ‘But in our search, we should always remember that we are redeemed in Christ, and he is always present to sustain us.’
      • ‘Even more importantly, ask him to show you the perfection of God's plan to save us and redeem us from these influences.’
      • ‘Having redeemed us, he now wants to take the rest of our lives to transform us so that we can become more and more like him.’
      • ‘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, free from sin, save from sin, turn from sin, convert, absolve of sin, purge of sin
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  • 2Gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.

    ‘his best suit had been redeemed from the pawnbrokers’
    • ‘In any case, the decision to redeem the land makes no practical sense.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the crofters on both crown and private land also lacked incentives, as they were not given an opportunity to redeem the crofts and related cultivated land for themselves.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She was the pale and sleeping kind, the kind who had to spend centuries waiting for the proper time to rise and redeem their lands, but she looked like one.’
    retrieve, regain, recover, get back, reclaim, repossess, have something returned, rescue
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    1. 2.1Finance Repay (a stock, bond, or other instrument) at the maturity date.
      • ‘Interest is exempt from state and local taxes, and you can defer paying federal taxes until you redeem your bonds.’
      • ‘Its balance sheet is burdened by long-term debt and preferred stock that must be redeemed.’
      • ‘This is not a guarantee that the bond will not be redeemed early.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 2.2 Exchange (a coupon, voucher, or trading stamp) for merchandise, a discount, or money.
      • ‘The points can eventually be redeemed for store products or gift vouchers.’
      • ‘These vouchers can be collected by schools and redeemed against a vast collection of computer equipment in this year's Computers for Schools catalogue.’
      • ‘You then get an SMS ‘drinks voucher’ which bar staff will redeem upon presentation of your phone.’
      • ‘What this usually entails is an educational voucher that parents can redeem at a private school.’
      • ‘We never redeem store coupons, yet we have redeemed more than 15 store coupons in the past four weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Consumers redeemed 4.5 billion of those coupons for an estimated cost saving of $3.6 billion.’
      • ‘After the interview was completed, each participant received a $10.00 coupon to be redeemed at a local supermarket.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The coupon can be redeemed automatically by using the device itself to pay for the transaction.’
      • ‘The voucher can be redeemed when the kit is set up ready for its inhabitants.’
      • ‘They may not be used for tickets purchased in advance by phone or online and may not be redeemed for cash.’
      • ‘They are then sent an electronic ‘voucher’ which can be redeemed in shops across the UK.’
      • ‘She also enclosed a gift certificate that the customer could redeem in the store.’
      • ‘For the intrusion into my life I receive points which can be redeemed for gift certificates and the like.’
      • ‘This might take the form of a card or coupon to be redeemed during the fall hunting season for 10 percent off any purchase.’
      • ‘The youngsters could also redeem their £1 World Book Day vouchers at the store.’
      • ‘Not all banks redeem and sell Savings Bonds, so you may have to make some phone calls to find one that will help you, he says.’
      • ‘No-one would accept it and in one I was told the voucher could only be redeemed in Sunwin House.’
      exchange, give in exchange, swap, barter, cash in, convert, turn in, return, trade in
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    3. 2.3 Pay the necessary money to clear (a debt)
      ‘owners were unable to redeem their mortgages’
      • ‘The debt racked up under the current dollar system cannot be redeemed.’
      • ‘He paid his soldiers, scientists and architects well and insisted that all old debts were to be redeemed with new Greek coins.’
      • ‘At the end of their working period and having redeemed the mortgage, they will remain in their own houses.’
      • ‘They would pay less each month than with a standard repayment loan, gain free life cover and end up with a lump sum that would redeem the mortgage and leave plenty over for the holiday of their dreams or a brand new top-of-the-range car.’
      • ‘That will involve H paying off the liability of about £500,000 secured on it or adding it to the lump sum payment to enable W to redeem it herself.’
      • ‘There are wars to be fought and government debts to be redeemed.’
      • ‘From a macro-economic point of view, the chances of redeeming public foreign debt are now as good as one can expect them to be.’
      • ‘Determined to redeem its Revolutionary War debts, Massachusetts imposed heavy taxes, payable in hard money, in the midst of a severe depression in transatlantic trade.’
      • ‘Alfa's fixed assets could not redeem its debts.’
      pay off, pay back, clear, discharge, square, honour, make good
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    4. 2.4archaic Buy the freedom of.
      obtain the release of, exchange for a ransom, buy the freedom of, release, free, deliver, liberate, rescue, restore to freedom
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  • 3Fulfill or carry out (a pledge or promise)

    ‘the party prepared to redeem the pledges of the past three years’
    • ‘150 years is too long to wait for promises to be redeemed and a bond of trust to be honoured.’
    • ‘Various stabs have been made at how many extra billions of UK health spending will be needed to redeem the Prime Minister's new promise.’
    • ‘When independence finally came, in August 1947, Gandhi thought it time to redeem his party's old promise.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘For the past three years, Mr. Uluvi ran from pillar to post to get Mr. Krishna's promise redeemed.’
    fulfil, carry out, discharge, make good, execute
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘buy back’): from Old French redimer or Latin redimere, from re- ‘back’ + emere ‘buy’.