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

On Monday, the students went through a presentation on handwriting analysis, received a 911 call and learned the case was an abduction from witnesses. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Thirty Wisconsin students get crime-solving experience through FBI program," 9 July 2019 Anyone with information on the abduction is urged to call the El Paso Police Department at 915-832-4400. Houston Chronicle, "Missing El Paso boys in 'immediate danger,' police say," 29 June 2019 Meanwhile, dozens of San Mateo County officers were looking for Kristine — her photo had been shared across police departments and local media as part of an abduction protocol that was a precursor to today’s Amber Alert system for missing children. Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, "Victim recounts 1995 Hillsborough kidnapping: ‘I thought I was going to die’," 28 June 2019 Boyd pleaded guilty in May to two counts of felonious assault, domestic violence, abduction, attempted aggravated arson and aggravated menacing in the attack at the couple’s house on Wilmore Avenue. Cory Shaffer, cleveland.com, "Euclid man who stabbed wife and tried to set her on fire over cheating allegation gets 17 years," 27 June 2019 The whereabouts of Leah, who was just 14 at the time of her abduction, remains unknown. Fox News, "Nigeria’s Christian community slowly being erased as militants step up vicious killings, kidnappings," 19 June 2019 The staged abduction was allegedly carried out with the help of Davila’s relatives, police said. Elizabeth Zavala, ExpressNews.com, "Reports of threats emerge during San Antonio hearing about King Jay Davila’s siblings," 14 June 2019 Kidnapping; abduction; false imprisonment; unlawful confinement; dealing or trafficking in slaves or other persons; taking a hostage. Mary Hui, Quartz, "These are all the crimes Hong Kong is considering extraditing people for under a new law," 7 June 2019 Kenya said the abductions threatened tourism, a key pillar of the economy. Tom Odula, The Seattle Times, "Suspected Islamic extremists abduct 2 Cuban doctors in Kenya," 12 Apr. 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

13 Jul 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

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


an act or instance of editing or removing

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