ab·​duct ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio)
sense 2 also
ˈab-ˌdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio)
abducted; abducting; abducts

transitive verb

: to seize and take away (a person) by force
The girl was abducted by kidnappers.
: 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
abductor noun

Examples of abduct in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Israel launched its military offensive in Gaza on October 7 after the militant group Hamas, which governs Gaza, killed at least 1,200 people and abducted more than 250 others. Mohammad Al Sawalhi, CNN, 7 Apr. 2024 The hostage, Efrat Katz, was abducted from Nir Oz, a kibbutz, on Oct. 7, the IDF said in a statement. Lior Soroka, Washington Post, 5 Apr. 2024 Carlee's mother and father told reporters that their daughter had indeed been abducted and that the perpetrator was still at large. Kinsey Crowley, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2024 On July 13, 2023, Russell, then a 25-year-old nursing student, called 911 and told Hoover police she was abducted after seeing a toddler on the side of the road. Stepheny Price, Fox News, 21 Mar. 2024 Doll has been abducted by the disagreeable Brothers Ferdia, who impart justice their own way: by holding him hostage in the remote home of their cousin Dev. Hazlitt, 20 Mar. 2024 The new film centers on Furiosa (Taylor-Joy), who is abducted in her younger years by Warlord Dementus (Hemsworth) and prepares herself to find her way back home to the Green Place of Many Mothers. Ryan Gajewski, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Mar. 2024 Police had been searching for 15-year-old Kaylee Cope from Grove City, Ohio, who police said was abducted by her 17-year-old boyfriend Jeffery Gimenez. Nadine El-Bawab, ABC News, 23 Mar. 2024 After a nearly 49-hour police search, Russell returned home and said she had been abducted, held hostage and escaped her captors. Maxime Tamsett, CNN, 22 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abduct.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of abduct was in 1765

Dictionary Entries Near abduct

Cite this Entry

“Abduct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduct. Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


ab·​duct ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio)
: to carry (a person) off by force
: to draw (a part of the body) away from a middle plane or line that divides the body or a bodily part into right and left halves

Medical Definition


transitive verb
ab-ˈdəkt, əb- also ˈab-ˌ
: 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 footC. R. Bardeen
also : to move (similar parts) apart
abduct adjoining fingers
abduction noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
ab·​duct ab-ˈdəkt, əb- How to pronounce abduct (audio)
: 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
abductor noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abduct

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