ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) , əb-; sense 2 also ˈab-ˌdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) \
abducted; abducting; abducts

Definition of abduct

transitive verb

1 : to seize and take away (a person) by force The girl was abducted by kidnappers.
2 : to draw or spread away (a part of the body, such as a limb or the fingers) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body or from the axis of a limb a muscle that abducts the arm

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Other Words from abduct

abductor \ ab-​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for abduct


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Examples of abduct in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Oluwaseyi Adetayo, a security expert and former officer of the Nigerian secret police Department of State Services, says the bandits have found it far too lucrative to abduct children. Chinedu Asadu, ajc, 2 Sep. 2021 Authorities are investigating after a man in a car reportedly tried to abduct a 10-year-old boy in Hingham on Friday afternoon, police said. BostonGlobe.com, 5 June 2021 Batebi’s critique follows the Biden administration's decision earlier this year to resume nuclear talks with Iran and comes just one day after the FBI said Iranian intelligence agents plotted to abduct an Iranian American journalist on U.S. soil. Matt Wall, Fox News, 15 July 2021 Many schools have been forced to close due to frequent incidents of gunmen attacking schools to abduct students. Sam Olukoya, Star Tribune, 29 May 2021 Considering the millions in foreign aid the U.S. pours into Rwanda, American taxpayers are again underwriting a foreign power’s ability to harass, intimidate and abduct its critics. Keir Pearson And Tom Zoellner, WSJ, 15 June 2021 The police determined that the men did not abduct Laci Peterson. Jennifer Pirone, ABC News, 14 May 2021 When Paulina was 7, her mother made a LeCarré-esque attempt to abduct her from the clutches of the communist government, flying back to Czechoslovakia with the intent of sneaking back onto a charter plane. New York Times, 15 May 2021 What is the likelihood that somebody is going to abduct Laci, and then all of a sudden, the media has intense scrutiny and attention to it. Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News, 1 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abduct.' 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 abduct

1765, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for abduct

borrowed from Medieval Latin abdūctus, past participle of abdūcere "to draw (a limb) away from the body," going back to Latin "to lead away, carry off, remove, entice away," from ab- ab- + dūcere "to lead" — more at tow entry 1

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Dictionary Entries Near abduct

abducent nerve



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Statistics for abduct

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abduct.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduct. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for abduct


ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt How to pronounce abduct (audio) \
abducted; abducting

Kids Definition of abduct

: to take a person away by force : kidnap

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən \ noun


transitive verb
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- also ˈab-ˌ \

Medical Definition of abduct

: to draw away (as a limb) from a position near or parallel to the median axis of the body the peroneus longus extends, abducts, and everts the foot— C. R. Bardeen also : to move (similar parts) apart abduct adjoining fingers

Other Words from abduct

abduction \ ab-​ˈdək-​shən, əb-​ How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun


transitive verb
ab·​duct | \ ab-ˈdəkt, əb- How to pronounce abduct (audio) \

Legal Definition of abduct

: to carry or lead (a person) away by threat or use of force or often by fraud also : to restrain or conceal (a person) for the purpose of preventing escape or rescue — see also kidnapping

Other Words from abduct

abductor \ -​ˈdək-​tər How to pronounce abduct (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abduct

Nglish: Translation of abduct for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abduct for Arabic Speakers


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