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

After Johnson reported the alleged abduction to police, officers pulled Nancy over 2 1/2 hours later. David K. Li, NBC News, "2-year-old girl missing in Pittsburgh area after driver sped off with her in car," 3 Sep. 2019 Investigators were pursuing the possibility that the killing had resulted from a botched abduction. David M. Halbfinger, BostonGlobe.com, "Yeshiva student found stabbed to death in West Bank," 8 Aug. 2019 In September, Webster confronted 19-year-old Anton Black in Caroline County after receiving a 911 call about a possible abduction. baltimoresun.com, "Police officer involved in Anton Black’s death on Eastern Shore loses certification," 5 Aug. 2019 Jessica Groves and Daniel Groves have been charged with abduction, kidnapping and interference of custody. Sarah Brookbank, Cincinnati.com, "Missing 4-month-old found dead in well, parents arrested," 13 June 2019 The mother, Jessica Groves, 39, is charged with one count of abduction, one count of kidnapping, one count of interference of custody and contempt of court. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Ohio couple arrested after infant’s body found in well," 13 June 2019 But that account never really explained the motive for the violent abductions, which left six people dead and 40 wounded at the scene. Azam Ahmed, New York Times, "Disappearance of 43 Mexican Students Must Be Investigated Anew," 5 June 2018 Viewers were shocked when the reunion between Reddington and Katarina turned into an abduction during The Blacklist season 6 finale. Alamin Yohannes, EW.com, "Reddington is Katarina's captive in first Blacklist season 7 photos," 11 Sep. 2019 The crew spent several days in the small village in Borno State speaking to families of those affected by Boko Haram abductions. Aisha Salaudeen And Stephanie Busari, CNN, "Documentary on missing Chibok schoolgirls wins at Venice Film Festival," 8 Sep. 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

5 Oct 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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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