verb (used with object)

  1. to carry off or lead away (a person) illegally and in secret or by force, especially to kidnap.
  2. Physiology. to move or draw away from the axis of the body or limb (opposed to adduct).

verb (tr)

  1. to remove (a person) by force or cunning; kidnap
  2. (of certain muscles) to pull (a leg, arm, etc) away from the median axis of the bodyCompare adduct

“to kidnap,” 1834, probably a back-formation from abduction; cf. abduce. Related: Abducted; abducting.


  1. To draw away from the midline of the body or from an adjacent part or limb.
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