ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) , əb-; sense 2 also ˈab-ˌ\
abducted; abducting; abducts

Definition of abduct

transitive verb

1 : to seize and take away (a person) by force The girl was abducted by kidnappers.
2 : to draw or spread away (a part of the body, such as a limb or the fingers) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body or from the axis of a limb a muscle that abducts the arm

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Other Words from abduct

abductor \ -​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abductor (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for abduct



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Examples of abduct in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In 1906, a mob of white Chattanooga, Tennessee, residents abducted Ed Johnson, a young black man, from his jail cell. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "Public Sculpture in Tennessee Will Memorialize Lynching Victim," 18 Apr. 2018 Police were originally searching for 4-year-old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj, who went missing in December; police suspect he was abducted by his father, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: 1,427 dead. Not 64.," 10 Aug. 2018 The plan called for militants to then try to abduct wounded sailors and keep them as bargaining chips for future prisoner swaps. Josef Federman, BostonGlobe.com, "Rights group urges soldiers to refuse orders to fire on protesters at Israel-Gaza border," 5 Apr. 2018 During the nine months she was held in captivity, Elizabeth Smart says her kidnapper allegedly tried to abduct another girl — going so far as to pose as a Mormon and befriend the girl’s family to do so. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Elizabeth Smart Says Her Captor Allegedly Tried to Kidnap Another Girl by Posing as Mormon," 27 Mar. 2018 Her family is now applying to live in Australia as part of a special program for women abducted by ISIS. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "ISIS sex slave survivor says she met her captor in Germany," 18 Aug. 2018 Japan has demanded that the Kim regime return at least 12 Japanese citizens abducted by North Korean agents. CBS News, "Get smart about the North Korean summit: What Kim Jong Un wants, what Trump wants," 10 June 2018 Prosecutor Sean Gallagher told the jury about the two teen girls who were abducted, raped and killed in a once-tranquil suburb, and that DNA from semen found in both women and preserved for decades matched Halbower's DNA. Paul Elias, Fox News, "California jury: Career criminal guilty of killing 2 teens," 18 Sep. 2018 Ahead of Trump's summit with Kim, Japanese Prime Minister Abe has pleaded with the president to raise the issue of 12 Japanese nationals who were abducted in the 1970s and 1980s. David Nakamura, chicagotribune.com, "Once forceful on North Korean human rights abuses, Trump is mostly mum during summit with Kim," 12 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abduct.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abduct

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for abduct

borrowed from Medieval Latin abdūctus, past participle of abdūcere "to draw (a limb) away from the body," going back to Latin "to lead away, carry off, remove, entice away," from ab- ab- + dūcere "to lead" — more at tow entry 1

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Statistics for abduct

Last Updated

18 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for abduct

The first known use of abduct was in 1765

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More Definitions for abduct


ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) \
abducted; abducting

Kids Definition of abduct

: to take a person away by force : kidnap

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən \ noun
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- also ˈab-ˌ\

Medical Definition of abduct

: to draw away (as a limb) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body the peroneus longus extends, abducts, and everts the foot— C. R. Bardeen also : to move (similar parts) apart abduct adjoining fingers

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən, əb-​ How to pronounce abduction (audio) \ noun
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- How to pronounce abduct (audio) \

Legal Definition of abduct

: to carry or lead (a person) away by threat or use of force or often by fraud also : to restrain or conceal (a person) for the purpose of preventing escape or rescue — see also kidnapping

Other Words from abduct

abductor \ -​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abductor (audio) \ noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on abduct

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abduct

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abduct

Spanish Central: Translation of abduct

Nglish: Translation of abduct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abduct for Arabic Speakers

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a secret plot to overthrow a government

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