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

Scott Nelson faces the death penalty in the murder of Jennifer Fulford, whom he is accused of kidnapping from her employer’s Winter Park home. Gal Tziperman Lotan,, "Death penalty trial in Winter Park killing will be delayed," 29 May 2018 In 2013, Cuba returned a Florida couple who had kidnapped their children from the grandparents and fled to the island aboard a boat. Nora Gámez Torres, miamiherald, "She sent her two children on vacation to Cuba. Only one returned to Miami | Miami Herald," 14 May 2018 SUBSCRIBE TODAY Further investigation revealed that three people, including the victim, were kidnapped from a business in Hickory and taken to Caldwell County where the shooting occurred. Wbtv, charlotteobserver, "Arrest made following kidnappings, shooting in Caldwell County | Charlotte Observer," 28 Apr. 2018 In 1975, community college teacher Claude Snelling was shot while trying to stop a masked intruder from kidnapping his 16-year-old daughter from his home. Michael Balsamo And Jonathan J. Cooper,, "Genealogy site didn't know it was used to seek one of California's most terrifying serial killers," 27 Apr. 2018 According to court records, this is what happened in late September 1982, after Neelley kidnapped Lisa from the Riverbend Mall in Rome, Georgia: Neelley took the girl to a motel room for her husband to rape. Ivana Hrynkiw,, "Georgia authorities could take Judith Ann Neelley if granted parole," 25 Apr. 2018 According to the federal court documents, another man allegedly involved in the marijuana distribution was killed after being kidnapped from a Kansas City barber shop. Tony Rizzo And Glenn E. Rice, kansascity, "Feds: Rival drug dealer allegedly tracked Independence homicide victim with GPS device | The Kansas City Star," 23 Mar. 2018 Del Toro’s movie, about a mute, lovelorn cleaning woman at a secret government research facility who falls in love with a gill man kidnapped from his South American home, is set in Baltimore. Chris Kaltenbach,, "Here's why 'The Shape of Water' was set in Baltimore (and yes, they 'screwed up with the accents')," 5 Mar. 2018 Police said Heath's boyfriend, Nicholas Chase Cunningham, 42, and a second man, Jimmy Tony Sanchez, 38, kidnapped Valladares last Wednesday morning from his home in the Houston suburb of Conroe. Erik Ortiz, NBC News, "Houston police detail botched FBI raid that led to kidnapping victim’s death," 30 Jan. 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

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Statistics for kidnap

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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 \
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

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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