As synonyms for kidnapping, is there any difference between Take and Steal. The question raised to me based on two movie titles with almost identical plot:

Stolen (Starring Nicolas Cage) and Taken (Starring Liam Neeson).

  • 5
    I'd say that as a synonym for kidnapped, taken seems to be more intuitive. Stealing seems to be something that happens usually to inanimate objects. Apart from that, take has usually not necessarily a negative connotation, whereas steal almost always does (except maybe when you steal a kiss).
    – oerkelens
    May 21, 2015 at 8:03
  • Intuitively for me stolen refers more to the family/community the kidnapped person is stolen from. (The kidnapper has stolen our daughter!) while taken refers to the person that has been kidnapped. (Help, I have been taken away from my family!)
    – skymningen
    May 21, 2015 at 10:13
  • 1
    In general, "steal" is not used for kidnapping. Probably "stolen" was used for the Cage film because "taken" was already, er, taken.
    – Hot Licks
    May 21, 2015 at 12:25

1 Answer 1


Stolen has within it's meaning that:

The thing wasn't yours to take.

The object (or being) was (usually) taken in stealth.

With "taken" the same meaning is forced:

You can steal a cookie, (that you weren't supposed to take, when nobody is looking) but, if you take a cookie - it may have been offered to you from a plate, in front of a group of people.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.