ab·​duc·​tion | \ ab-ˈdək-shən How to pronounce abduction (audio) , 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


hijacking (also highjacking), kidnapping (also kidnaping), rape, snatch [slang]

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Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens

Recent Examples on the Web

Malaysian police have told the family the incident is being treated as both an abduction and a missing person case, the group told CNN. Rob Picheta, CNN, "London teenager with learning disability disappears from remote Malaysian resort," 5 Aug. 2019 One was the abduction and killing of 11-year-old Esther Lebowitz, bludgeoned to death in the basement of a store selling tropical fish. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "How 2 unrelated deaths from 1969 inspired Baltimore crime novelist Laura Lippman’s ‘Lady in the Lake’," 23 July 2019 Other suspects In the summer of 1979, authorities identified a 16-year-old boy as a suspect in Stephanie Hebert’s abduction and murder. Michelle Hunter, nola.com, "New suspect named in 1978 abduction, murder of 5-year-old Stephanie Hebert," 29 June 2019 Authorities from multiple agencies, including the Indiana State Police, Lafayette Police, West Lafayette Police and the Department of Natural Resources, searched the area where the alleged abduction and confinement occurred. Janelle Griffith, NBC News, "Indiana police searching for man in alleged abduction, sexual assault," 24 June 2019 Nelson is accused of the 2017 abduction and murder of Jennifer Fulford, who worked as a personal assistant and caretaker in Winter Park. Hal Boedeker, orlandosentinel.com, "Belvin Perry analyzes Scott Nelson trial on Court TV," 24 June 2019 In 2016, the National Institute of Justice found that nearly 85 percent of Native women have experienced violence like rape, stalking, and beating—crimes known to accompany abduction and murder. Eric Ogden, Marie Claire, "The Invisible Victims," 10 June 2019 A few hours before her abduction, Sergewa had been interviewed by a pro-Haftar television channel, Al Hadath, which is based in Cairo. Tim Lister And Nada Bashir, CNN, "She's the most prominent female politician in her country. A few days ago she was abducted from her house," 20 July 2019 Defense attorney Alex Bernstein countered that Lin had nothing to do with the abduction, which Bernstein argued was the work of Shieh, who disappeared after the crime and has never resurfaced. Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, "‘Mastermind’ of 1995 Hillsborough kidnapping found guilty," 12 July 2019

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

10 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

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- How to pronounce abduction (audio) \

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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of or relating to the heavens

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