• synonyms


verb (used with object), kid·napped or kid·naped, kid·nap·ping or kid·nap·ing.
  1. to steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud, especially for use as a hostage or to extract ransom.
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Origin of kidnap

1675–85; kid1 + nap, variant of nab
Related formskid·nap·pee, kid·nap·ee, nounkid·nap·per, kid·nap·er, nounun·kid·naped, adjectiveun·kid·napped, adjective
Can be confusedhijack kidnap shanghai skyjack


seize, bear off, bear away.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for kidnaping

Historical Examples

  • Also recall the way the press handled the recent Witla kidnaping case.

    Commercialism and Journalism

    Hamilton Holt

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

  • 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.

  • Why condescend to kidnaping a woman and running away with her from the fight?

    A Woman for Mayor

    Helen M. Winslow

British Dictionary definitions for kidnaping


verb -naps, -napping or -napped or US -naps, -naping or -naped
  1. (tr) to carry off and hold (a person), usually for ransom
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Derived Formskidnapper or US kidnaper, nounkidnapping or US kidnaping, noun

Word Origin

C17: kid 1 + 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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper