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

The office didn’t provide details but Abe reportedly said that Moon did raise the North’s abduction of Japanese citizens during his meeting with Kim. Kim Tong-hyung, BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea to close nuclear test site in May, unify time zone," 29 Apr. 2018 Wisconsin murder suspect Jake Patterson’s last name was incorrectly given as Peterson in one reference in an U.S. News article on Tuesday about the abduction of a 13-year-old girl. WSJ, "Corrections & Amplifications," 15 Jan. 2019 Japan has long sought to normalize diplomatic relations with North Korea, which have been strained since the abduction of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s. Bradford Betz, Fox News, "Trump, Japan's Abe to hold summit in New York City next week," 21 Sep. 2018 The Guilty is about an emergency dispatcher who winds up in the center of an abduction, trying to help resolve matters entirely over the phone. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Star Wars Resistance, Iron Fist, and more," 18 Aug. 2018 Abe has pushed the topic of Japanese abductions with the US President before, both Trump and his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have previously promised to address the issue. James Griffiths, CNN, "Abe wants to make Trump's North Korea talks even more complicated," 7 June 2018 Winnie Mandela was charged in his death but was convicted only of abduction and being an accessory to assault and was sentenced to six years' imprisonment. Robyn Dixon, latimes.com, "Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, anti-apartheid activist and 'Mother of the Nation,' dies at 81," 2 Apr. 2018 Akeam Masheeq Daniels, 26, was wanted for questioning in a fatal shooting, which occurred at the time of the abduction. Ben Estes, NOLA.com, "Amber Alert issued for 2-month-old girl: Louisiana State Police," 1 Mar. 2018 These notes helped unravel the terrible mystery of Larry's abduction. AL.com, "An Alabama child's tragic kidnapping and murder shocked America in 1962," 3 Feb. 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

6 Apr 2019

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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- 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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marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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