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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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for kidnapping
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Northern churches of commerce thought Slavery was a blessing, kidnapping a 'grace.'

  • They had seen nothing on that day which could relate to the kidnapping of a young girl.

    The Blonde Lady Maurice Leblanc
  • Theyd get me for kidnapping, like enough, said the girl, as though talking to herself.

  • He was determined to get another chance of kidnapping Estelle.

  • My father has done us the honor of looking us up, to accuse me of conniving at the kidnapping of Mrs. Masterson's boy.

    A Man's Hearth Eleanor M. Ingram
British Dictionary definitions for kidnapping


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 kidnapping



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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