Kidnap and kidnapping as nouns

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womble21

Member
UK, English
Which is the correct noun, 'kidnap' or 'kidnapping'? If both are nouns, then I'd like to know how they're used, or if they're interchangeable.
 
  • Gordonedi

    Senior Member
    UK (Scotland) English
    Hello, Womble21, and welcome to the Forums.

    Kidnap is a verb. I have not seen it used as a noun.

    If someone is kidnapped, there has been a kidnapping.
     

    womble21

    Member
    UK, English
    It's just that I saw the BBC use it on their News 24 channel, and that really threw me off. I checked in my OED, and it states that a 'kidnap' is 'an instance of kidnapping'. What's that supposed to mean? It does not list 'kidnapping' as a noun, but rather, the present participle of 'kidnap'.
     

    Gordonedi

    Senior Member
    UK (Scotland) English
    The entry in the OED suggests that "kidnapping" is the general word for this crime/activity, such as in "Kidnapping occurs a lot in Cambridge".

    Then when it happens (i.e. there is an instance of kidnapping) it's a kidnap. I can see the difference between the general noun and the specific one, but like you I don't see the difference between a kidnap and a kidnapping.

    Perhaps another Forum member can add more value ?
     

    TheAmzngTwinWndr

    Senior Member
    United States
    I think it's a fine line between the two. I would say (though I could be wrong) that you can't go wrong by using "kidnapping" because I can't think of an example where "kidnap" would be used over "kidnapping".
     

    tomandjerryfan

    Senior Member
    English (Canada)
    I don't see any difference either, and I haven't heard kidnap used as a noun until I read this thread. Since kidnap is listed in the dictionary as a noun, and the using the gerund is a common way to convert many verbs into nouns, both ways seem to be correct.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I have heard "kidnapping victim" and also "kidnap victim".

    I would stick with "kidnapping" because I could not hear myself saying, "The Lindberg kidnap"; I can only hear, "The Lindberg kidnapping".
     
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