Definition of kidnap in English:



  • Abduct (someone) and hold them captive, typically to obtain a ransom.

    ‘militants kidnapped the daughter of a minister’
    • ‘Special refugee camps to prevent children being kidnapped by criminal gangs are to be set up.’
    • ‘Then later I was kidnapped by a gang of four blokes whose faces I can still distinctly remember.’
    • ‘He kidnaps Rebecca, and tries to make her love him.’
    • ‘What if a radical Italian terrorist group kidnaps her?’
    • ‘Hence, he concocts a secondary project to finance the first: namely, kidnaping his wife for a large ransom.’
    • ‘When Nick finds out that his girl is shacking with Morgan, he flips out and kidnaps her, forcing Morgan into a showdown at the local warehouse.’
    • ‘Out of guilt, he kidnaps the baby girl and drops her off at the orphanage.’
    • ‘He plots with Dirk Hatteraick, the smuggler who kidnapped him as a child, to carry him off again and kill him.’
    • ‘It's no wonder the local Harlem crime lord calls on him when his daughter is kidnapped by the Mafia.’
    • ‘A lorry driver kidnapped by armed robbers and tied up in a warehouse said today he thought he was going to die.’
    • ‘When a mysterious winged villain kidnaps him, you are naturally concerned.’
    • ‘He kidnaps her, in a surprisingly old-school twist, and takes her to parts unknown.’
    • ‘That's right; he kidnaps people, clones them, and then plans to release the clones to overrun the world.’
    • ‘When Winnie meets the Tuck brothers, Miles basically kidnaps her.’
    • ‘She turned on the TV, and watched as old men discussed the events of the ‘Kidnapper’, a nickname given to a criminal who kidnaps women.’
    • ‘Harris didn't understand why she felt this connection with the lunatic who'd kidnaped her, but he understood what she meant.’
    • ‘His brother abroad collected a ransom thinking he was kidnapped by petty criminals.’
    • ‘No, but I've heard of martial artists being kidnapped and made to fight at gunpoint by bikers.’
    abduct, carry off, capture, seize, snatch, hold to ransom, take as hostage, hijack
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mass noun
  • The action of kidnapping someone.

    ‘they were arrested for robbery and kidnap’
    • ‘So all of our staff, with the exception of kidnap, are on a 45 minute notice to scramble.’
    • ‘By accepting the mission, Charles is pitched into a world of kidnap, mystery and murder.’
    • ‘At the same time, you want us to deal with terror, with murder, with kidnap, with rape.’
    • ‘He pleaded guilty to three robberies, kidnap and one offence of aggravated burglary.’
    • ‘Currently families who compel their children to marry can be charged only with offences such as assault or kidnap.’
    • ‘Not that resort to violence and kidnap hadn't already undermined their credibility.’
    • ‘Many of the accused are alleged to have committed murder, kidnap and torture during the late 1970s.’
    • ‘Not a day passes without reports of mugging, murder, dacoity, extortion and kidnap making it to the front page.’
    • ‘Among those victims of kidnap, torture and murder were my own uncle, cousin and brother.’
    • ‘He was given a life term for kidnap and other offences and has been behind bars for seven years.’
    • ‘The kidnap was carried out without rousing family members or neighbours from sleep.’
    • ‘Abroad, the risk of kidnap or murder has soared in many places.’
    • ‘Their tactics of kidnap and blackmail shocked the world and I remember the cold shiver the very mention of their name sent down my spine as a child.’
    • ‘The kidnap made front-page news and the conspiracy theories began.’
    • ‘Original charges of indecent assault and kidnap were dropped and Atkinson was found guilty of a lesser charge of false imprisonment.’
    • ‘At present, those guilty of forcing someone into marriage can be prosecuted for kidnap, false imprisonment or rape.’
    • ‘A man has been taken into custody and has been charged with attempted kidnap.’
    • ‘Mason took the phone with him when he went on holiday with Miss Lucas the week after the alleged kidnap.’
    • ‘Details were released as detectives confirmed they now believed there was a sexual motive behind Hannah's kidnap and murder.’
    • ‘Her parents were arrested on suspicion of kidnap and given police bail until last week, when they were ruled out of the investigation.’
    kidnapping, kidnap, abduction, hostage-taking
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Late 17th century: back-formation from kidnapper, from kid + slang nap ‘nab, seize’.