Definition of abduct in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Take (someone) away illegally by force or deception; kidnap.

    ‘the millionaire who disappeared may have been abducted’
    • ‘He has a string of prior convictions and was arrested and was later convicted of abducting a prostitute and threatening to kill her.’
    • ‘Families who want to marry off their daughters without paying a dowry often hire criminals to abduct eligible boys and force them into wedlock, the paper said.’
    • ‘A WOMAN abducted by a knifeman in a busy Bolton street and forced to drive to Leeds was today recovering at home.’
    • ‘It has been alleged that the person who attempted to abduct the girl was a serving member of the force.’
    • ‘A failed attempt to abduct a legislator's son came to light yesterday, sending shock waves though the legislature's staff.’
    • ‘But what possible motive would a person have for abducting Mike?’
    • ‘There is a pattern of arbitrary executions, the systematic rape of women and girls and people being abducted.’
    • ‘So, after he is abducted, he is forced to wander, looking for a community where he can settle.’
    • ‘The arrest was a seizure by seven armed men dressed in civilian clothes who abducted him in an unlicensed car.’
    • ‘Have you ever noticed that when people are abducted it's usually during the night, Art?’
    • ‘During one such break-in, they find themselves forced to abduct him and take him into the mountains.’
    • ‘You hear about people abducting kids all the time.’
    • ‘They said that children who tried to escape were usually captured by other abducted children.’
    • ‘Even if it was a mistake to abduct her children following the trial, the children should not be punished for her mistake.’
    • ‘Young men with poor marriage prospects might attempt to abduct a woman and force her into marriage.’
    • ‘To prove loyalty to the cause, abducted children are often forced to kill family members or each other.’
    • ‘A woman who alleged she was abducted and raped is no longer helping detectives investigating the attack.’
    • ‘This was the second time for the rebels to set free abducted members of security forces in recent weeks.’
    • ‘A new law took effect last year that makes it illegal to abduct young girls and force them into marriage.’
    • ‘Traffickers also kidnap and abduct their victims.’
    carry off, capture, seize, snatch, hold to ransom, take as hostage, hijack
    kidnap, carry off, seize, capture, run away with, run off with, make off with, spirit away, hold hostage, hold to ransom, hijack
    View synonyms
  • 2Physiology
    (of a muscle) move (a limb or part) away from the midline of the body or from another part.

    The opposite of adduct
    • ‘The dorsal interossei abduct the toes from this axis.’
    • ‘The gluteus medius and minimus abduct and rotate the hip internally.’
    • ‘When the arm is abducted and externally rotated the sternocostal fibres are maximally stretched.’
    • ‘In the shoulder girdle, the serratus anterior and pectoralis minor muscles contract to abduct the scapula on the up phase.’
    • ‘The superior rectus and inferior rectus muscles abduct the eye.’


Early 17th century: from Latin abduct- ‘led away’, from the verb abducere, from ab- ‘away, from’ + ducere ‘to lead’.