ab·duc·tion | \ ab-ˈdək-shən , 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


kidnapping (also kidnaping)

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Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens

Recent Examples on the Web

Ashley Hardy, 26, is charged with abduction and violating a protection order. Cameron Knight, Cincinnati.com, "Two women indicted in Symmes Township abduction," 13 July 2018 Seven of the eight have pleaded not guilty to accusations of involvement in the abduction, rape and murder of the girl. Steve George, CNN, "India court moves trial location in gang rape, murder of 8-year-old," 7 May 2018 Leslie Hernandez, 38, is suspected in the abduction of Kinsley and Kolby Hernandez. Jose R. Gonzalez, Houston Chronicle, "Amber Alert for two 3-year-olds from San Antonio," 15 Mar. 2018 But the Syrian war has reached new heights in abduction. Janine Di Giovanni, Newsweek, "In Syria, Reporters Are Targets for Kidnapping," 29 Apr. 2014 People shared social media posts beginning Saturday alleging an attempted abduction at the Fort Wayne Walmart on Maysville Road that was supposedly reported to the Fort Wayne Police Department. Sarah Bahr, Indianapolis Star, "No, social media: Fort Wayne police say no kidnapping attempt at Walmart," 9 July 2018 Successful Amber Alerts require law enforcement to confirm an abduction prior to issuing the alert, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Lauren Fox And Max Londberg, kansascity, "Amber Alert canceled for Lenexa teen. Suspect, 22, had posed as teen online, dad says," 6 July 2018 Smart's abduction from her bedroom at knifepoint by a man who came in through an open kitchen window triggered waves of fear among parents everywhere. Brady Mccombs, Fox News, "Elizabeth Smart kidnapper denied early prison release," 3 July 2018 In reality, abductions typically involve someone the child knows such as a family member or a family friend. Sheila Vilvens, Cincinnati.com, "What steps can you take to protect your child from a would-be abductor," 28 June 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

7 Sep 2018

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- \

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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to make amends

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