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

Sharena Nancy, 25, is in Allegheny County Jail facing charges of kidnapping of a minor, interference with custody of children and concealment of the whereabouts of a child in connection with the alleged abduction of Nalani Johnson. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "Uber Driver Is Charged With Kidnapping Missing Penn. Toddler, Sparking Amber Alert," 2 Sep. 2019 The abduction of the three Israeli boys is barely mentioned, and their equally bereaved parents not at all. Los Angeles Times, "Calendar letters to the editor: Young Latinx musicians are carrying on a tradition," 30 Aug. 2019 Nayeri, 40, is being tried on charges of kidnapping for ransom, aggravated mayhem, torture and burglary in the 2012 abduction of the man and his female roommate by masked captors. Julia Sclafani, Daily Pilot, "Defense claims Hossein Nayeri’s ex-wife is a liar working with police to frame him in kidnap and torture case," 9 Aug. 2019 Authorities have speculated that German may have been trying to imitate last year’s home invasion and abduction of teenager Jayme Closs. Chris Vetter, Twin Cities, "Coroner: Western Wisconsin man in quadruple murder/suicide shot relatives repeatedly," 5 Aug. 2019 The novel begins at a bus stop, with the random abduction of a 13-year-old girl named Kylie, and develops in blisteringly short chapters that move virtually in real time. David Canfield, EW.com, "This summer's buzziest thriller, The Chain starkly examines parental desperation," 12 July 2019 Authorities have not detailed the circumstances of the alleged abduction attempt. oregonlive.com, "Man tries to abduct teen girl from Milo McIver State Park, authorities say," 3 July 2019 For the law expert: In The Dark In The Dark focuses on the failures of one particular case: the abduction of Jacob Wetterling. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "These Podcasts Will Satisfy Your Craving For Making A Murderer," 15 June 2019 Tara Williams Lee is wanted by the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) in connection with the abduction of a 9-month-old baby belonging to homeless woman Marie Childress. Christopher Harress | Charress@al.com, al.com, "Second woman sought in bizarre alleged kidnapping of homeless Mobile woman’s baby," 14 June 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

7 Sep 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

What made you want to look up abduction? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


concealment of treason or felony

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