Here is the containing paragraph:

Disruption also attracts attention: disruptors are people who look for trouble and find it. Disruptive kids get sent to the principal’s office. Disruptive companies often pick fights they can’t win. Think of Napster: the name itself meant trouble. What kinds of things can one “nap”? Music … Kids … and perhaps not much else. Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, Napster’s then-teenage founders, credibly threatened to disrupt the powerful music recording industry in 1999. The next year, they made the cover of Time magazine. A year and a half after that, they ended up in bankruptcy court.

What does the verb "nap" mean here? I've looked at many dictionaries but couldn't find any suitable meaning.

  • 1
    Your confusion is understandable. You may not be getting any answers here, because one cannot "nap" music, so I have no idea what he's talking about. I suspect that, honestly, the usage is poor enough to basically be meaningless. I'd love to be proven wrong, though. – Ben I. May 19 '17 at 19:41
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    I think the reference is to the verb kidnap. – Tᴚoɯɐuo May 19 '17 at 19:43

The author is making a play on the word "kidnap", since Napster was accused of misappropriating music the way a kidnapper might abduct a child.


The reference to


is a red herring and meaningless. The name


is a childhood nickname for the founder Shawn Fanning.

The author of your article is assuming that


is being used as a suffix to nap in the same way that gang-ster, huck-ster, and trick-ster is.
Though this is an incorrect assumption.

  • The only possible verb I can imagine is a slangy derivation from the adjective "nappy" to mean to become "frizzy" or "kinky". It still doesn't fit the context. – Andrew May 19 '17 at 22:19
  • If you read the article, Shawn Fanning's hair was "nappy". – Peter May 20 '17 at 0:16

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