Speaking to a friend from Colombia last night, I discovered a new word: kidnappable. Actually, the word she told me was in Spanish: secuestrable, but doing a Google search, I discover that the word is already being used in English, although it only gets a 175 hits, and only a few of those are in the sense of the word that my friend told me. Most of the occurrences are like this one, from the National Review:
I was told that foreigners in Colombia are eminently secuestrable- kidnappable.
This use of the word in Colombia is not surprising, considering the prevalence of kidnappings there — “an average of 3,000 people were kidnapped each year between 1996 and 2003.” Although the number has been steadily declining since then (if you believe the government statistics).
However, my friend told me that there was a new, more playful use of the term, which has now come to mean “cute.” As in: “That girl is so cute you could kidnap her!”
Que niña tan linda como para secuestrarla.
I was curious if this use of the term had penetrated into English. I found a few examples suggesting that it had, but far from enough to suggest a trend. And there isn’t any clear link between these uses and the Spanish. For instance, this one is from an Anime discussion board:
I love Kaiba Mokuba. He’s j/ so cute, how he idolizes Seto and everything. He’s so kidnappable; someone new’s always trying to steal him away and brainwash him and stuff. I LOVE kidnappable characters, muah!
And this one is from an Asian American blogger:
Sitting at dinner eating my sixth piece of raw fish, I spied a two year old chinese girl sitting at the next table over. Giant cheeks, pigtails, absolutely kidnappable. She was just sittin there eating a slice of American cheese.
Another blogger, by the name of Bob, thinks Bill Murray is “kidnappable.” And in a discussion about the movie Vanilla Sky, Alexx says “that both Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz look well kidnappable.”
NOTE: I don’t speak Spanish, so let me know if there are any mistakes!