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



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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

Felicity Jones stars as Jyn Erso, the daughter of a scientist kidnapped by the Empire and forced to work on a nefarious weapon: the Death Star. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, "5 patriotic movies to binge this Fourth of July, from 'Captain America' to 'Rogue One'," 3 July 2019 Gerardo Octavio Solís Gómez, the state prosecutor, said Thursday that there appeared to be enough evidence to support the conclusion that Pacheco was kidnapped by the same group of people. Phil Mccausland, NBC News, "Missing medical school graduate from Arkansas found safe in Mexico," 22 June 2019 The season two finale left fans in a MAJOR cliffhanger as Monse, Cesar, Jamal, and Ruby were kidnapped by some mysterious figures in a van. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "On My Block" Season 3," 30 Apr. 2019 Elizabeth Thomas, the teenager who was kidnapped by her teacher Tad Cummins last year and driven across the country for 38 days, is speaking out about the experience. Bartie Scott, Teen Vogue, "Elizabeth Thomas to Speak Out About Being Kidnapped by Teacher Tad Cummins," 20 Sep. 2018 Geist forbid any newspaper photographers inside of the club and even tried to destroy all photographs of himself and his family for fear of being kidnapped. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "Who is Clarence Geist and why did they name a reservoir after him?," 20 June 2019 The armed men took several electronic items and attempted to kidnap the man, who resisted and was able to escape and call police. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Man assaulted in South Park home invasion," 15 June 2019 You were kidnapped by men masquerading as FAES and now the real deal are here to take them down. Annika Hernroth-rothstein, National Review, "I Was Kidnapped in Venezuela," 7 June 2019 At last, Chris unravels what drove him to kidnap a 22-year-old and incite an international incident: guilt. Ariana Romero,, "Black Mirror Season 5, Episode 2 Recap: "Smithereens"," 31 May 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

11 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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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