Try Our Apps


90s Slang You Should Know


[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. 2017.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for kidnapper
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The kidnapper sat down with the utmost coolness and began to count over the notes.

    The Blue Lights Arnold Fredericks
  • Dick Boobitrapp is a kidnapper and a confederate of Vertigo.

  • The captain spoke some command to one of his men, who began a search of the clothing of the kidnapper leader.

    The Motor Boys in Mexico Clarence Young
  • If I am forced, to denounce him to government, it will be in his new capacity of a kidnapper.

    Red Gauntlet Sir Walter Scott
  • He could not repress a sneaking feeling that he had been less the kidnapper than the napped kid in this elopement.

    We Can't Have Everything Rupert Hughes
British Dictionary definitions for kidnapper


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for kidnapper

1670s; see kidnap (though this word is attested a few years earlier).



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for kidnap

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for kidnapper

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for kidnapper