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

abduct

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

Steven Stayner, who was kidnapped at the age of 7, became a national hero after helping another child escape from abuse. Selena Barrientos, Good Housekeeping, "The True Story Behind Cary Stayner's Murders and His Brother Steven's Legacy," 25 Jan. 2019 The film has Rodriguez playing a woman who gets kidnapped and forced to assist a gang of smugglers, while also trying to save her missing friend. Jacob Kastrenakes, The Verge, "New trailers: Black Monday, Narcos: Mexico, Destroyer, and more," 20 Oct. 2018 Officials say most of those were Mexican migrants heading to the United States who were kidnapped off buses and killed by the Zetas cartel. Fox News, "Mexican prosecutors find 166 skulls in mass graves," 6 Sep. 2018 Smithsonian Magazine’s story on a woman who was kidnapped and forced to impersonate Aretha Franklin in 1969 is almost too wild to believe. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "City turns out for ICE protests, how to steal a house in Philly | Morning Newsletter," 2 July 2018 Scout came to Osceola County through a donation from the Jimmy Ryce Center, an organization named for the 9-year-old Dade County boy who was kidnapped and killed in 1995. Gal Tziperman Lotan, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Tiny bloodhound joins Osceola County Sheriff's Office," 15 June 2018 For example, a Korean spy convicted of bombing a South Korean passenger jet in 1987, killing all 115 on board, said she had been trained by Yaeko Taguchi, another Japanese woman who was kidnapped in 1978. NBC News, "Japanese citizens simply vanished. North Korea had abducted them. But why?," 11 June 2018 Earlier this season, Antonio pushed Rizzo—the man responsible for kidnapping his daughter—out of a window. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "‘Chicago P.D.’ and ‘Chicago Med’ Fans Are Outraged After the Confusing Finale Cast Exits," 23 May 2019 Isidro Alaniz, district attorney for Webb County, said that the case broke open after a woman, whom Mr. Ortiz attempted to kidnap at gunpoint, managed to escape on Friday. Dan Frosch, WSJ, "Border Patrol Agent Arrested in Suspected Serial Killings," 16 Sep. 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.

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

Statistics for kidnap

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kidnap

The first known use of kidnap was in 1682

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

behavior toward others

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

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!