ab·​duc·​tion ab-ˈdək-shən How to pronounce abduction (audio)
: the action of abducting : the condition of being abducted
archaic : the unlawful carrying away of a woman for marriage or sexual intercourse

Example Sentences

discredited reports of abductions by aliens
Recent Examples on the Web As your own customized character, shred your way to becoming the new skate wizard, tearing up half-pipes and whizzing by ramps, pools of toxic sludge and alien abduction beams. Alyse Stanley, Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2022 The abduction attempt in 1974 has not stopped Princess Anne from getting off her ass and working. Carrie Wittmer, Glamour, 21 Dec. 2022 As if child abduction wasn't horrifying enough, a supernatural element takes this movie to the next level of suspense. Leigh Hewett, EW.com, 15 Dec. 2022 Over the next three years, the case of Baby L. would expand into a legal battle over her adoption, allegations of a transnational child-abduction scheme in federal court and investigations by state and federal agencies. Rozina Ali, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2022 Though there are no definitive statistics, research estimates that domestic violence could be a factor in up to 70% of Hague Convention child abduction cases. Julianne Mcshane, NBC News, 26 Oct. 2022 Borowski has ordered contempt detentions for parties in probate cases and a lawyer in a high-profile fetal abduction homicide case. Bruce Vielmetti, Journal Sentinel, 26 Oct. 2022 Why not check out an inflatable t-rex or alien abduction costume? Blaine Callahan, Hartford Courant, 5 Oct. 2022 Yoshifu Arita, a journalist and former lawmaker, praised Inoki for his effort to resolve the abduction issue with the North. Mari Yamaguchi, Los Angeles Times, 3 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abduction.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin abdūctiōn-, abdūctiō "withdrawal, removal, allurement," from Latin abdūcere "to lead away" + -tiōn-, -tiō, suffix of action nouns — more at abduct

First Known Use

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of abduction was in 1632

Dictionary Entries Near abduction

Cite this Entry

“Abduction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduction. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Legal Definition


ab·​duc·​tion ab-ˈdək-shən, əb- How to pronounce abduction (audio)
: the action of abducting
abduction of a robbery victim
: the tort or felony of abducting a person
: the unlawful carrying away of a wife or female child or ward for the purpose of marriage or sexual intercourse

Note: Sense 2 has its roots in common law. As statutorily defined, mainly in the nineteenth century, abduction was generally stated to include taking away or detention of a woman under a certain age, usually 16 or 18, with or without her consent or knowledge of her age.

More from Merriam-Webster on abduction

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