early 15c., "buy back, ransom," also in a theological sense, "deliver from sin and spiritual death," from Old French redimer "buy back," from Latin redimere "to redeem, buy back," from red- "back" (see re-) + emere "to take, buy, gain, procure" (from PIE root *em- "to take, distribute"). In Middle English Latin redimere sometimes was translated as againbuy. Meaning "make amends for" is from 1520s. Sense of "make good" (a promise, obligation, etc.) is from 1840. Related: Redeemed; redeeming.