kidnap

verb
kid·​nap | \ ˈkid-ˌnap How to pronounce kidnap (audio) \
kidnapped also kidnaped\ ˈkid-​ˌnapt How to pronounce kidnaped (audio) \; kidnapping also kidnaping

Definition of kidnap

transitive verb

: to seize and detain or carry away by unlawful force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom

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Other Words from kidnap

kidnappee or kidnapee \ ˌkid-​ˌna-​ˈpē How to pronounce kidnapee (audio) \ noun
kidnapper or less commonly kidnaper noun

Synonyms for kidnap

Synonyms

abduct

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Examples of kidnap in a Sentence

the child of the wealthy industrialist was kidnapped and held for ransom

Recent Examples on the Web

Director Noah Hawley’s film aimed to put a feminist take on the story of Lisa Nowak (here fictionalized as Lucy Cola), a former NASA flight officer whose messy personal life and arrest for attempting to kidnap a romantic rival. Brent Lang, chicagotribune.com, "10 biggest winners and losers at the Toronto Film Festival," 12 Sep. 2019 The kidnappers require her not only to pay a ransom but also to kidnap another child. Douglas Preston, The New Yorker, "Briefly Noted," 27 Aug. 2019 Authorities said Nayeri and three others plotted to kidnap and rob the man, who was bound and burned with a blow torch while his captors drove through the desert demanding the money. Amy Taxin, BostonGlobe.com, "California man convicted of torture of pot dispensary owner," 16 Aug. 2019 The Texas Department of Public Safety officially has discontinued the Amber Alert for 13-year-old Kiah Miller, who was believed to have been kidnapped from her Montgomery home Tuesday. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Amber Alert discontinued for missing 13-year-old Kiah Miller," 14 Aug. 2019 So the triad decides to kidnap every bald chef in Chinatown, which should obviously cue the apocalyptic battle of the bald chefs! Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "Netflix’s Wu Assassins series lacks the Hong Kong cinema magic," 8 Aug. 2019 Female bottlenoses have been known to kidnap calves of other species—likely in an attempt to foster unfulfilled maternal instincts—but such relationships rarely last. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "Researchers Document First Known Case of Dolphin Mom Adopting Whale Calf," 31 July 2019 Detectives have released a sketch of a suspect who attempted to kidnap a 4-year-old boy from a family gathering in Aloha last month. oregonlive.com, "Investigators release sketch of suspect in Aloha attempted kidnapping," 17 July 2019 Last year they are believed to have kidnapped almost 200 people. The Economist, "West Africa has become the world’s piracy hotspot," 3 July 2019

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

1682, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for kidnap

probably back-formation from kidnapper, from kid + obsolete napper thief

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Statistics for kidnap

Last Updated

17 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kidnap

The first known use of kidnap was in 1682

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More Definitions for kidnap

kidnap

verb

English Language Learners Definition of kidnap

: to take away (someone) by force usually in order to keep the person as a prisoner and demand money for returning the person

kidnap

verb
kid·​nap | \ ˈkid-ˌnap How to pronounce kidnap (audio) \
kidnapped\ -​ˌnapt \; kidnapping

Kids Definition of kidnap

: to carry away a person by force or by fraud and against his or her will

Other Words from kidnap

kidnapper noun
kid·​nap | \ ˈkid-ˌnap How to pronounce kidnap (audio) \
kidnapped or kidnaped\ -​ˌnapt How to pronounce kidnaped (audio) \; kidnapping or kidnaping\ -​ˌna-​piŋ \

Legal Definition of kidnap

: to seize and confine or carry away by force or fraud and often with a demand for ransom

Other Words from kidnap

kidnapper or kidnaper \ -​ˌna-​pər \ noun

History and Etymology for kidnap

probably back-formation from kidnapper, from kid child + obsolete napper thief

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More from Merriam-Webster on kidnap

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with kidnap

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for kidnap

Spanish Central: Translation of kidnap

Nglish: Translation of kidnap for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of kidnap for Arabic Speakers

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