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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of kidnap in a Sentence

the child of the wealthy industrialist was kidnapped and held for ransom
Recent Examples on the Web On October 8th, federal and state authorities charged six men with plotting to kidnap Gretchen Whitmer, the governor of Michigan. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, "Pulling Our Politics Back from the Brink," 9 Nov. 2020 Weeks ago, a group of men were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, "Election Day unrest? Alabama prepares for the worst," 3 Nov. 2020 Weeks ago, a group of men were arrested for allegedly plotting to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan. Claire Galofaro, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Raw exposed nerves’: An anxious nation awaits Election Day and its aftermath," 2 Nov. 2020 The announcement comes weeks after the high-profile arrests of more than a dozen militia members who were allegedly plotting to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. Caroline Linton, CBS News, "Feds arrest alleged white supremacy group member who claimed to run "hate camp" in Michigan," 30 Oct. 2020 Civil rights groups have raised alarms about possible voter intimidation in Michigan, where five men involved in an anti-government group are accused of plotting to kidnap Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "2020 Election Live Updates: Kamala Harris heads to Texas to try to turn it blue," 28 Oct. 2020 Paramilitary group members are accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan's governor before the election. Lisa Marie Pane And Michael Kunzelman, Star Tribune, "Voter advocates hoping to stave off intimidation at polls," 24 Oct. 2020 Barr also has remained relatively quiet after U.S. attorneys announced charges against a group of men accused of plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic ally of Biden's. Arkansas Online, "Trump pressures Barr to investigate Bidens as election nears," 20 Oct. 2020 Earlier this month, federal and state authorities charged 13 members of a private militia with plotting to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Jonathan Backer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Wisconsin should not tolerate illegal private militia groups," 19 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about kidnap

Time Traveler for kidnap

Time Traveler

The first known use of kidnap was in 1682

See more words from the same year

Statistics for kidnap

Last Updated

15 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Kidnap.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/kidnap. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for kidnap

kidnap

verb
How to pronounce kidnap (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on kidnap

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!