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[kid-nap] /ˈkɪd næp/
verb (used with object), kidnapped or kidnaped, kidnapping or kidnaping.
to steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud, especially for use as a hostage or to extract ransom.
Origin of kidnap
1675-85; kid1 + nap, variant of nab
Related forms
kidnappee, kidnapee, noun
kidnapper, kidnaper, noun
unkidnaped, adjective
unkidnapped, adjective
Can be confused
hijack, kidnap, shanghai, skyjack.
seize, bear off, bear away. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for kidnaping
Historical Examples
  • A galloping ghost on the scene of a kidnaping that is sure to cause a nation-wide search!

    The Galloping Ghost Roy J. Snell
  • Also recall the way the press handled the recent Witla kidnaping case.

  • The kidnaping was nominally the act of the Tungpei (ex-Manchurian) troops.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • There is Mr. Hamilton to be thought of, too––his injury, his kidnaping!

    The Crevice William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander
  • Suspected of kidnaping—the gangs that hang out in these places.

    The Galloping Ghost Roy J. Snell
  • Frank then explained about the kidnaping of Professor Scotch by the bandits.

    Frank Merriwell Down South Burt L. Standish
  • Do you know that when father knows this he's going to annul the marriage or have Mr. Carter arrested for kidnaping or abduction?

    Where There's A Will Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • This triangular deadlock was first broken by the kidnaping at Sian.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • It wasn't the crazy one; it was one of the two cut-throats who are kidnaping him—the fellows I'm trying to beat.

    The Helpers Francis Lynde
  • “It has to do with the kidnaping of the Red Rover,” Johnny explained.

    The Galloping Ghost Roy J. Snell
British Dictionary definitions for kidnaping


verb -naps, -napping, -napped (US) -naps, -naping, -naped
(transitive) to carry off and hold (a person), usually for ransom
Derived Forms
kidnapper, (US) kidnaper, noun
kidnapping, (US) kidnaping, noun
Word Origin
C17: kid1 + obsolete nap to steal; see nab
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for kidnaping



1680s, compound of kid (n.) "child" and nap "snatch away," variant of nab; originally "steal children to provide servants and laborers in the American colonies." Related: Kidnapped; kidnapping.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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