Kidnap and kidnapping as nouns

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
    English - USA
    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".
     
    Top