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


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Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens
Recent Examples on the Web Police have released no information about the motive for the abduction nor where they could be headed. William Mansell, ABC News, "Child abducted at gunpoint, allegedly by grandmother, from Louisiana hospital," 15 Feb. 2020 Jason Lee Middle School issued a warning to parents Wednesday about an attempted abduction at the bus stop in front of the school. oregonlive, "Portland-area elementary schools report 3 separate incidents of adults attempting to lure children," 30 Jan. 2020 No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction. Simon Marks, New York Times, "Abduction of Ethiopian Students Fuels Anger at the Government," 30 Jan. 2020 The Taliban, who have been active in Farah, have not claimed responsibility for the abductions. NBC News, "Taliban ambush peace convoy in Afghanistan, abducting activists," 25 Dec. 2019 The Taliban, who have been active in Farah, have not claimed responsibility for the abductions. Tameem Akhgar, SFChronicle.com, "Taliban abduct 26 peace activists, Afghan official says," 25 Dec. 2019 Earlier: Two men grabbed a 16-year-old girl off of a New York City sidewalk Monday night, knocked her 36-year-old mother to the ground, and sped off, in an apparent abduction that was captured by surveillance cameras. Essence, "Karol Sanchez, 16, Found Safe After Men Snatch Her Off NYC Street In Front Of Her Mother," 17 Dec. 2019 Smith told reporters there is no motive for Kamille’s alleged abduction at this time. Harriet Sokmensuer, PEOPLE.com, "Video Shows Missing Ala. Girl, 3, With Man Moments Before Disappearance From Birthday Party," 21 Oct. 2019 In June, an Indian court sentenced three men to life imprisonment for the abduction, rape and murder of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Seven arrested after a 15-year-old girl alleges gang rape and public shaming in India," 28 Aug. 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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Time Traveler for abduction

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The first known use of abduction was in 1632

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Statistics for abduction

Last Updated

23 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abduction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduction. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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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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