vidnappedIn criminal law, a ”kidnapping” is, of course, the taking away or transportation of a person against that person’s will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment — and sometimes to demand a ransom. But in the online world of viral videos, a new term has surfaced, and been officially sanctioned by the folks at Urban Dictionary — “vidnapping.”

So what’s a vidnapping, you ask? It’s when a person is videotaped or digitally videoed against his or her will, and without his or her consent or permission, usually in public space such as a city park or football stadium.

In most cases, the person vidnapped was having a meltdown or some other kind of emotional epiphany or breakdown – as the case might be — and the resulting videos posted online put the person in a most embarrassing light, and again, without his or her consent or permission.

The Urban Dictionary editors decided to publish the new term and it’s online now.

On the cool and trendy online dictionary, which was recently the subject of a yet another New York Times article and run by a former Google employee out of his home in California, the term is defined this way: “Vidnapping: To be the victim of someone using their cellphone camera to take video of you in a public setting where you do something unbecoming and then see the video released online and go viral, without your permission or consent.”

And to give the term some room to breathe, the dictionary offers this sample quote from a person who claimed to have been vidnapped recently: “I am so upset. Last weekend, some people in the park vidnapped me when I was having an angry meltdown over some issue and they released the video online and it went viral. I am so embarrassed!”

A new term is born out of the smartphone times we live in now. But will it stick?

Have you ever been vidnapped? Not a pretty picture, I suspect.


  1. update: strange, whenever i type in “vidnapping” as a search term for Google, the platform just gives me loads of items with ”kidnapping” and changes the V automatically into a K. Why? Has Google also been vidnapped? “Vidnapped” gets search results, but not “vidnapping.” Vidnapping gets changed to kidnapping. Is
    google kidding? Why?

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