ab·​duc·​tion ab-ˈdək-shən How to pronounce abduction (audio)
: the action of abducting : the condition of being abducted
archaic : the unlawful carrying away of a woman for marriage or sexual intercourse

Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens
Recent Examples on the Web Authorities did not immediately respond but Clovis PD referred to the case as a double homicide and child abduction in an earlier press release. Saleen Martin, USA TODAY, 6 May 2024 In 2023, the OSBI did post about Joi’s case on Facebook on the 36th anniversary of her abduction. Nicolás Viñuela, NBC News, 27 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for abduction 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'abduction.' 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 Late Latin abdūctiōn-, abdūctiō "withdrawal, removal, allurement," from Latin abdūcere "to lead away" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at abduct

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abduction was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near abduction

Cite this Entry

“Abduction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduction. Accessed 19 May. 2024.

Legal Definition


ab·​duc·​tion ab-ˈdək-shən, əb- How to pronounce abduction (audio)
: the action of abducting
abduction of a robbery victim
: the tort or felony of abducting a person
: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on abduction

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