ab·​duc·​tion | \ab-ˈdək-shən, əb-\

Definition of abduction 

1 : the action of abducting : the condition of being abducted

2 archaic : the unlawful carrying away of a woman for marriage or sexual intercourse

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Synonyms for abduction


kidnapping (also kidnaping)

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Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens

Recent Examples on the Web

Education is key To reduce the risk of abduction, education is vital for both parents and children. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "What steps can you take to protect your child from a would-be abductor," 28 June 2018 The decision made exceptions for emergencies like bomb threats and child abductions. Adam Liptak, New York Times, "In Ruling on Cellphone Location Data, Supreme Court Makes Statement on Digital Privacy," 22 June 2018 Detectives were questioning the mother, 24-year-old Mikequera Randolph, and charges of child abduction were likely, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Paige Fry, chicagotribune.com, "Mother in custody after missing 3-month-old girl found unharmed on West Side," 23 May 2018 Today, North Korea appears to be tying the abduction case to the ongoing peace negotiations. Paula Hancocks, Jungeun Kim And Yoonjung Seo, CNN, "Restaurant manager reveals he tricked North Korean waitresses into defecting," 21 May 2018 Vazquez, a citizen of Mexico, alleges in the suit that the woman, Tara Lawson, is violating the international child abduction act known as the Hague Convention. Tony Rizzo, kansascity, "International child abduction suit involves KC-area woman, Mexican man who abused her | The Kansas City Star," 11 May 2018 President Donald Trump signed legislation that makes permanent a federal program to help tribal areas implement the child-abduction system. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Trump approves aid for Amber Alerts in tribal areas pushed by John McCain, Andy Biggs," 14 Apr. 2018 Japan remains a haven for parental child abductions and a U.S. lawmaker Wednesday urged the Trump administration to do more to pressure the country to fulfill its obligations under international law. Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY, "Lawmaker: U.S. needs to pressure Japan to comply with international child abduction laws," 11 Apr. 2018 Two days after the abduction, the kidnapers sent Charley’s father the first of 23 notes demanding $20,000 for the child’s return. PEOPLE.com, "PEOPLE Explains: Infamous Kidnappings Throughout History," 23 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abduction.' 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 abduction

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abduction

borrowed from Late Latin abdūctiōn-, abdūctiō "withdrawal, removal, allurement," from Latin abdūcere "to lead away" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at abduct

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Statistics for abduction

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for abduction

The first known use of abduction was in 1632

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More Definitions for abduction


ab·​duc·​tion | \ab-ˈdək-shən, əb- \

Legal Definition of abduction 

1a : the action of abducting abduction of a robbery victim

b : the tort or felony of abducting a person

2 : the unlawful carrying away of a wife or female child or ward for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse

Note: Sense 2 has its roots in common law. As statutorily defined, mainly in the nineteenth century, abduction was generally stated to include taking away or detention of a woman under a certain age, usually 16 or 18, with or without her consent or knowledge of her age.

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Comments on abduction

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something that serves to warn or remind

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