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

Earlier that morning, prosecutors said Young raped and kidnapped a woman before entering the store asking for money. Emilie Eaton, San Antonio Express-News, "As activists gather, court denies request to halt San Antonio man’s execution," 10 July 2018 Former Super Bowl champion cornerback Brandon Browner is facing several charges after allegedly kidnapping a woman and holding her against her will in California on Sunday, police said. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Super Bowl champion arrested after kidnapping woman and holding her against her will, police say," 10 July 2018 Graver’s move is to foster a cartel civil war by kidnapping Isabela Reyes (Isabela Moner), the daughter of a kingpin, and pretending she was taken by a rival gang. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Sicario: Day of the Soldado," 2 July 2018 The case concerned a gruesome Missouri murder and a 17-year-old defendant, Christopher Simmons, who was convicted along with a friend of kidnapping a woman from her home and throwing her body over a bridge and into a river. Eric Tucker,, "A look at some of Justice Kennedy’s most memorable opinions," 28 June 2018 Four people are accused of kidnapping a man and holding him captive for three nights in a north Charlotte home, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Thursday. Lavendrick Smith, charlotteobserver, "Man was held captive and beaten for three nights in north Charlotte home, police say," 21 June 2018 Police on Wednesday arrested an Oregon State University freshman suspected of kidnapping a hotel worker at gunpoint in Newport and then going on a late-night joyride with her handcuffed in the back of his car. Shane Dixon Kavanaugh,, "OSU freshman kidnaps, handcuffs female hotel worker at gunpoint, goes on joyride: cops," 31 May 2018 The jury also found Talley guilty of kidnapping the child after shooting Kirst, 33, sometime between the night of June 30 and July 1 in 2016. Kim Chatelain,, "Jury convicts North Shore man in girlfriend's 'horrific' murder," 11 May 2018 Her search was one of the largest for a child since the Lindbergh Baby kidnapping six years earlier. Katie Kosma, Longreads, "The Big Unsolved Mystery of Little Marjorie West," 12 July 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

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for kidnap

The first known use of kidnap was in 1682

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More Definitions for kidnap



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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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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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