car·​jack·​ing | \ ˈkär-ˌja-kiŋ \

Definition of carjacking

: the theft of an automobile from its driver by force or intimidation In the cities and suburbs, where muggings and carjackings are a daily concern, voters are wondering how many of the nation's 200 million guns are pointed at them.— Richard Lacayo … Congress made a show of getting tough on crime by making armed carjackings a federal crime.— Janet Novack

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Other Words from carjacking

carjack \ ˈkär-​ˌjak \ transitive verb
Several weeks after the shooting, a woman my age was carjacked there. — Susan Straight
carjacker \ ˈkär-​ˌja-​kər \ noun
If you're confronted by a carjacker, be cooperative. The big picture: It's your car versus your life. — Amy Lumet

Examples of carjacking in a Sentence

The police are investigating another carjacking.

Recent Examples on the Web

Atkins, 28, has been charged with murder in Corado’s death as well as kidnapping and carjacking. Amanda Lee Myers, The Seattle Times, "Slain grocery store manager’s family slams edited LAPD video," 4 Sep. 2018 Fears about carjacking and crack dens, fanned by the emergence of 24-hour cable news, were prominent in people’s minds. Neil Swidey,, "How Democrats would be better off if Bill Clinton had never been president," 10 July 2018 Apparently frustrated in his effort, the gunman then attempted a second carjacking. Fred Barbash, Washington Post, "Armed civilian kills gunman, stops shooting spree at Tumwater, Wash., Walmart," 18 June 2018 Police also reported a carjacking in the Desire neighborhood Monday night. Hanna Krueger,, "Man punched and robbed by neighbor on Broad Street: NOPD," 22 May 2018 Investigators said the pair committed another carjacking. Fox News, "Woman in viral courtroom video gets 11 years for carjackings," 10 Apr. 2018 Certain crimes also prevent a person from an early release: human trafficking, child pornography, bank robbery and a carjacking that results in death. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Criminal Justice Bill Means Less Prison Time—and Earlier Releases," 17 Dec. 2018 The Johns Hopkins University is warning of carjackings near the school’s Homewood campus. Christina Tkacik,, "Three carjackings in recent weeks near Johns Hopkins, university says," 11 July 2018 Lonski planned to present evidence of an earlier carjacking at a gas station at North 35th and West Townsend streets. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trial begins for one of 3 charged in shotgun death of Milwaukee city inspector," 22 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'carjacking.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of carjacking

1991, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for carjacking

car + hijack + -ing

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Dictionary Entries near carjacking



Carius method




car knocker

Statistics for carjacking

Last Updated

14 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for carjacking

The first known use of carjacking was in 1991

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English Language Learners Definition of carjacking

: the crime of using violence or threats to steal a car from its driver or to force the driver to take you someplace


car·​jack·​ing | \ ˈkär-ˌja-kiŋ \

Legal Definition of carjacking

: theft by force or intimidation of an auto that has a driver or passenger present

More from Merriam-Webster on carjacking

Spanish Central: Translation of carjacking

Comments on carjacking

What made you want to look up carjacking? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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