kid·nap | \ˈkid-ˌnap \
kidnapped also kidnaped\ˈkid-ˌnapt \; 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 \ noun
kidnapper or less commonly kidnaper noun

Synonyms for kidnap



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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

Nigeria national team captain John Obi Mikel told KweseESPN his father was kidnapped just hours before the team's final World Cup group stage match against Argentina. Scooby Axson,, "Report: Nigeria’s John Obi Mikel Played vs. Argentina Knowing Father Was Kidnapped," 3 July 2018 Making America greater most definitely doesn't mean turning asylum-seekers away or kidnapping their kids to turn them away from coming here. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Families Belong Together March: Watch Incredible Speeches by Diane Guerrero, Kerry Washington, America Ferrera, and More," 1 July 2018 The 39-year-old man from Cameroon said that he was sold twice as a slave, kidnapped and tortured in Libya while awaiting his chance to get aboard a smuggler's boat. Renata Brito And Frances D'emilio,, "Fear turns to joy as rescue boat saves 60 in Mediterranean Sea," 30 June 2018 The events of the night started when at least three people in a white Ford Explorer kidnapped two men in Greater Inwood and drove to their residence near the airport, Crowson said. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Home invaders hold men hostage near Bush Airport, sparking shootout," 28 June 2018 The group has murdered some 2,300 teachers, destroyed more than 1,400 schools, and kidnapped scores of students. Ryan Lenora Brown, The Christian Science Monitor, "Young Nigerians choose to fight Boko Haram with books," 20 June 2018 Other charges include kidnapping with the intent to commit rape, residential burglary and indecent exposure. Teri Figueroa,, "Complaint alleges five sexual assault victims in Kellen Winslow II case," 15 June 2018 On May 27, Demetrius Lowe was shot and kidnapped in the 3000 block of Moosewood Avenue, police said. Cameron Knight,, "2 women indicted in kidnapping and shooting, 2 men still loose," 15 June 2018 Luckily, the boy attacked his kidnapped enough to run away and back to safety. Niki Mcgloster,, "The Quick Read: Kanye West Says Being Bipolar Is His 'Superpower'," 4 June 2018

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

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

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Statistics for kidnap

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for kidnap

The first known use of kidnap was in 1682

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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


kid·nap | \ˈkid-ˌnap \
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 \
kidnapped or kidnaped\-ˌnapt \; 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

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