ab·​duc·​tion | \ ab-ˈdək-shən How to pronounce abduction (audio) , əb- \

Definition of abduction

1 : the action of abducting : the condition of being abducted
2 archaic : the unlawful carrying away of a woman for marriage or sexual intercourse

Synonyms for abduction


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Examples of abduction in a Sentence

discredited reports of abductions by aliens
Recent Examples on the Web Roughly two hours of the abduction were recorded on Stephens’ sleep apnea app. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, 17 Dec. 2021 Repeatedly drawn to the site of the abduction, Keane wanders the bus station, compulsively replaying the events of that fateful day as if hoping to change the outcome. Manori Ravindran, Variety, 14 Dec. 2021 The fear of stranger abduction was partly a product of the cultural environment at the time. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 9 Dec. 2021 Xanthe Mallett, a criminologist at Australia’s Newcastle University, said finding a victim of stranger abduction alive after more than two weeks was rare. Fox News, 4 Nov. 2021 The mastermind of the abduction was sentenced to four years in prison. Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times, 17 Oct. 2021 Within minutes of the abduction, Daniel Boone organized a search party to rescue his daughter and her friends. Peter Cozzens, WSJ, 27 Sep. 2021 Last week, as news broke of the abduction of 73 students in Zamfara, authorities closed all primary and secondary schools across the state, and three days later local media reported that telecommunications access in the state has been blocked. Arkansas Online, 11 Sep. 2021 Police are looking for unknown suspect, in connection with her abduction, the website missingkids.org, reported. Dennis Rudner, San Antonio Express-News, 19 Dec. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of abduction

1632, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abduction

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

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The first known use of abduction was in 1632

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abduction.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abduction. Accessed 21 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for abduction


ab·​duc·​tion | \ ab-ˈdək-shən, əb- How to pronounce abduction (audio) \

Legal Definition of abduction

1a : the action of abducting abduction of a robbery victim
b : the tort or felony of abducting a person
2 : 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

Nglish: Translation of abduction for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abduction for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about abduction


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