car·​jack·​ing | \ ˈkär-ˌja-kiŋ How to pronounce carjacking (audio) \

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 How to pronounce carjack (audio) \ transitive verb
Several weeks after the shooting, a woman my age was carjacked there. — Susan Straight
carjacker \ ˈkär-​ˌja-​kər How to pronounce carjacker (audio) \ 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

Rodney Brown, 22, pleaded guilty to carjacking, while Michael Portis, 27, pleaded guilty to brandishing a gun during a violent crime. Mark Schleifstein,, "Man fatally shot in Holy Cross neighborhood," 3 Feb. 2018 Twenty teens were charged in carjackings last year in the city, police said. Evan Macdonald,, "Teen charged in Cleveland Heights armed robbery," 24 Jan. 2018 The officers tried to stop him because the Jeep looked like one involved in a carjacking, police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said, according to a September Tribune report. Ese Olumhense,, "Family of off-duty Chicago cop killed in high-speed crash while fleeing police sues city," 28 June 2018 Investigators also noted that Austin-Harris and the other man fit the description of the suspects in a similar carjacking on April 5 outside the same home on Freeman Avenue in Ohio City, the report says. Adam Ferrise,, "Suspected Ohio City carjacker arrested after chase with Cleveland police," 24 Apr. 2018 In an email to staff and students, the office of campus safety said Wednesday that there have been three carjackings just outside the office’s patrol area in the past few weeks. Christina Tkacik,, "Three carjackings in recent weeks near Johns Hopkins, university says," 11 July 2018 Unmoored by the death of his friend Josh (Nathaniel Stroud) and persuaded by the affection of his new girlfriend Jennifer (Melissa Benoist), Billy finally begins to realize that his pursuits of fighting and carjacking aren’t of value. Kimber Myers,, "Blake Jenner and gritty 'Billy Boy' aim high with messy results," 14 June 2018 Plaisted told jurors that Shaw is protecting Smiley, who was older, ran the little carjacking crew and owned the shotgun. Bruce Vielmetti, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Trial begins for one of 3 charged in shotgun death of Milwaukee city inspector," 22 May 2018 That same armed civilian then administered medical aid to the carjacking victim until help arrived. Fred Barbash,, "Pastor took out an active shooter and treated the wounded, all after delivering his Sunday sermon," 21 June 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

18 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce carjacking (audio) \

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).


a secret plot to overthrow a government

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