ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) , əb-; sense 2 also ˈab-ˌdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) \
abducted; abducting; abducts

Definition of abduct

transitive verb

1 : to seize and take away (a person) by force The girl was abducted by kidnappers.
2 : to draw or spread away (a part of the body, such as a limb or the fingers) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body or from the axis of a limb a muscle that abducts the arm

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Other Words from abduct

abductor \ ab-​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for abduct


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Examples of abduct in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Larson trolled the girl online and then flew from from his home in Virginia to Fresno in order to abduct her, authorities told Fox News. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "California authorities rescue girl, 12, from pedophile who ran for Congress," 20 Dec. 2020 Gangs in the area are known to abduct people for ransom. Danielle Paquette, Washington Post, "Boko Haram claims the kidnapping of 300 boys in Nigeria, marking an alarming move west," 15 Dec. 2020 Berens on Tuesday denied bond for three other men charged with planning to abduct Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. chicagotribune.com, "Federal judge finds enough evidence to move toward trial of 5 Michigan men accused of plotting to kidnap governor," 16 Oct. 2020 In more extreme cases, SARS officers abduct civilian targets and force them to make withdrawals at an ATM in exchange for their freedom, sometimes at gunpoint. Yomi Kazeem, Quartz Africa, "How a youth-led digital movement is driving Nigeria’s largest protests in a decade," 12 Oct. 2020 One of the men accused of hatching a plot to abduct Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer attended a Black Lives Matter rally this summer. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Man accused of hatching plot to kidnap Whitmer is BLM supporter and made comments critical of police," 11 Oct. 2020 Law enforcement on Thursday announced the arrest of 13 people who allegedly plotted to abduct Whitmer, including seven who belong to an armed extremist group called the Wolverine Watchmen. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, "Armed group that hanged Beshear in effigy demands apology for being called 'terrorists'," 9 Oct. 2020 The federal criminal case against six of 13 suspects accused of plotting to abduct and possibly harm Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer contains a legal nuance that former officials from the U.S. Department of Justice say make conviction more likely. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Legal experts reveal one reason Gov. Whitmer kidnap case is strong," 9 Oct. 2020 Three men in Michigan accused of plotting to abduct and kill Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, as well as other political figures, were charged in Antrim County on Thursday, according to a report. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, "Three men charged in Michigan after allegedly plotting to abduct, kill Gov. Whitmer," 8 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abduct.' 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 abduct

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for abduct

borrowed from Medieval Latin abdūctus, past participle of abdūcere "to draw (a limb) away from the body," going back to Latin "to lead away, carry off, remove, entice away," from ab- ab- + dūcere "to lead" — more at tow entry 1

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Time Traveler for abduct

Time Traveler

The first known use of abduct was in 1765

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Statistics for abduct

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abduct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduct. Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for abduct


ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) \
abducted; abducting

Kids Definition of abduct

: to take a person away by force : kidnap

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən \ noun
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- also ˈab-ˌ \

Medical Definition of abduct

: to draw away (as a limb) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body the peroneus longus extends, abducts, and everts the foot— C. R. Bardeen also : to move (similar parts) apart abduct adjoining fingers

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən, əb-​ How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- How to pronounce abduct (audio) \

Legal Definition of abduct

: to carry or lead (a person) away by threat or use of force or often by fraud also : to restrain or conceal (a person) for the purpose of preventing escape or rescue — see also kidnapping

Other Words from abduct

abductor \ -​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun

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