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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for kidnaping
Historical Examples
  • Also recall the way the press handled the recent Witla kidnaping case.

  • Without it, the Bardeks had not been able to enter and effect the kidnaping of your friends.

    Wanderer of Infinity Harl Vincent
  • There is Mr. Hamilton to be thought of, too––his injury, his kidnaping!

    The Crevice

    William John Burns and Isabel Ostrander
  • Frank then explained about the kidnaping of Professor Scotch by the bandits.

    Frank Merriwell Down South Burt L. Standish
  • Why condescend to kidnaping a woman and running away with her from the fight?

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
  • "To think we were letting you in for kidnaping and imprisonment," said Mrs. Turner.

    A Woman for Mayor Helen M. Winslow
  • The scream of the evening is a kidnaping—most deplorable line of business!

    Blacksheep! Blacksheep! Meredith Nicholson
  • Dobbs knows nothing of the kidnaping; it's the gold piece that interests him.

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

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
  • This triangular deadlock was first broken by the kidnaping at Sian.

    Government in Republican China Paul Myron Anthony Linebarger
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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