Definition of kidnap in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkidˌnap/

verb (kidnaps, kidnapping, kidnapped; also kidnaping, kidnaped)

[with object]
Take (someone) away illegally by force, typically to obtain a ransom.
Example sentences
  • His brother abroad collected a ransom thinking he was kidnapped by petty criminals.
  • She turned on the TV, and watched as old men discussed the events of the ‘Kidnapper’, a nickname given to a criminal who kidnaps women.
  • Special refugee camps to prevent children being kidnapped by criminal gangs are to be set up.
abduct, carry off, capture, seize, snatch, take hostage


The action of kidnapping someone: they were arrested for robbery and kidnap
More example sentences
  • He pleaded guilty to three robberies, kidnap and one offence of aggravated burglary.
  • At the same time, you want us to deal with terror, with murder, with kidnap, with rape.
  • Not a day passes without reports of mugging, murder, dacoity, extortion and kidnap making it to the front page.


Late 17th century: back-formation from kidnapper, from kid1 + slang nap 'nab, seize'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: kid·nap

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