car·​jack·​ing ˈkär-ˌja-kiŋ How to pronounce carjacking (audio)
: 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
carjack transitive verb
carjacked; carjacking; carjacks
Several weeks after the shooting, a woman my age was carjacked there. Susan Straight
carjacker noun
plural carjackers
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 For carjackings, which nearly doubled in 2023, the average age of those arrested was 15 years old. Gabe Cohen, CNN, 17 Feb. 2024 Prosecutors allege Williams led a street gang called Young Slime Life that was a violent criminal enterprise responsible for shootings, carjackings, drug dealing and murder. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 In a carjacking the perpetrator directly confronts the vehicle’s owner, while auto theft typically occurs when a car is unoccupied. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 15 Feb. 2024 It was largely fueled by a 35% rise in homicides and growth in carjackings, which nearly doubled. CBS News, 14 Feb. 2024 The assailant fled, attempted two more carjackings in D.C. later that night (the second succeeded), and died in a standoff with police early the next morning in Maryland (after committing two more carjackings in the state). The Editors, National Review, 2 Feb. 2024 Juvenile carjackings in Maryland have increased by 85%, and juvenile handgun violations statewide were up 220% between 2021 and 2023. Steve Hershey, Baltimore Sun, 22 Jan. 2024 Workers are reluctant to return to their offices because of carjackings and gun violence. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2024 The officer, who has not been identified, tried to stop a vehicle that was wanted in connection with a carjacking in Tahoe City around 10 a.m. Friday, State Parks said in a statement following the shooting. Jason Green, The Mercury News, 30 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'carjacking.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


car + (hi)jack + -ing entry 1

First Known Use

1991, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of carjacking was in 1991

Dictionary Entries Near carjacking

Cite this Entry

“Carjacking.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Legal Definition


car·​jack·​ing ˈkär-ˌja-kiŋ How to pronounce carjacking (audio)
: theft by force or intimidation of an auto that has a driver or passenger present

More from Merriam-Webster on carjacking

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!