hi·​jack | \ ˈhī-ˌjak How to pronounce hijack (audio) \
variants: or less commonly
hijacked also highjacked; hijacking also highjacking; hijacks also highjacks

Definition of hijack

transitive verb

1a : to steal (goods in transit) by stopping a vehicle Shipping cargo internationally, however, is rife with pitfalls. Shipments may be stolen, hijacked, destroyed, damaged or delayed.— David Drake A shipment of … albums by British pop idol Sting was hijacked in transit while being transported from Germany to an Italian warehouse.— Willem Hoos At last count, Parmalat had given away 5.2 million stuffed animals in a massive Brazilian promotion, not including the truckload of furry animals hijacked earlier this year by thieves too impatient to collect their own Parmalat labels.— Laurel Wentz
b : to commandeer (a vehicle in transit) "… One day his truck was hijacked, probably by deserters, and he was wandering around and decided to go back to a village where he had met a young woman that he rather liked. …"— Charles Glass often, specifically : to commandeer (a flying airplane) usually by coercing the pilot In June 1976, an Air France Airbus was hijacked in Athens … and flown at gunpoint to Uganda's primary airport … Radio Times A man claiming to have a bomb attempted to hijack a Pegasus Airlines plane from Ukraine on Friday and take it to Sochi, where the Winter Olympics were just beginning. — Brian Resnick and Matt Berman
c : to stop and steal from (a vehicle in transit) Police are hunting two men who hijacked a truck at knifepoint and made off with its … load of whisky.Commercial Motor (Sutton, England)
d : kidnap A robber who claimed he was hijacked from home … to rob a corner shop has been jailed for four years.Evening Gazette (Middlesborough, England)
2a : to take or take control of (something) as if by hijacking … hackers hijacked the accounts of high-profile Twitter users …— Queenie Wong To reproduce, the virus infects a cell and hijacks the cell's protein-making machinery.The Springfield (Massachusetts) Union-News … distinguished themselves from the artsy types, who they believed had hijacked punk from "the real kids" …— Simon Reynolds often, specifically : to change the topic or focus of (something, such as a conversation) : redirect Don't hijack threads. Burger King wouldn't hand out flyers in front of a Chipotle, so why would you want to hawk your business on an unrelated Facebook thread …? — Jennifer Chang All of this strife is because Idaho's political machinery is enabling isolated and extremist visions from small patches of Idaho to hijack the conversation. — Mike Satz It's sad that sex scandals continue to hijack attention from economic, educational and health care issues. — Barbara Lippert
b : to subject to extortion or swindling hijacks them into spending nearly a billion dollars …— Dave Armstrong

Other Words from hijack

hijack noun, plural hijacks
hijacker noun, plural hijackers

Synonyms for hijack


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Examples of hijack in a Sentence

He hijacked a truck, threatening the driver at gunpoint. A band of robbers hijacked the load of furs from the truck. A group of terrorists hijacked the plane. The organization has been hijacked by radicals.
Recent Examples on the Web There is nothing more unfair to the board and the attending owners than when one or more owners hijack a meeting with obstreperous behavior. Kelly G. Richardson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 July 2022 Meanwhile, some of those posting will get frustrated at the ability of this disrupter to hijack the texting commentary. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 10 July 2022 To us, the strategy is an attempt to build an exclusive, small group in the name of a free and open Indo-Pacific, to hijack countries in our region and target one specific country. Brad Lendon And Heather Chen, CNN, 12 June 2022 The second component can hijack industrial control systems from Schneider Electric to delete files, crash the device, or upload additional payloads. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 13 Apr. 2022 Two bank robbers, the adoptive brothers Danny (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) and Will Sharp (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), hijack an ambulance after a heist gone wrong, using it to sneak by the cops. David Sims, The Atlantic, 9 Apr. 2022 There’s the producer (Yannick Bono) who conspires to let the veteran male DP (Maxime Ruiz) hijack Dalle’s big set-piece and direct the film himself. Peter Debruge, Variety, 4 May 2022 The action-thriller stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Eiza González and centers on a pair of adoptive siblings who hijack an ambulance while trying to pull of a bank heist. Brent Lang, Variety, 8 Apr. 2022 Of course, the heist doesn’t go as planned, and in their getaway Danny and Will hijack an ambulance. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of hijack

1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hijack

origin unknown

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Last Updated

3 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Hijack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hijack. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for hijack


hi·​jack | \ ˈhī-ˌjak \
hijacked; hijacking

Kids Definition of hijack

1 : to stop and steal or steal from a moving vehicle
2 : to take control of (an aircraft) by force

Other Words from hijack

hijacker noun


transitive verb
hi·​jack | \ ˈhī-ˌjak \

Legal Definition of hijack

: to seize possession or control of (a vehicle) from another person by force or threat of force specifically : to seize possession or control of (an aircraft) especially by forcing the pilot to divert the aircraft to another destination

Other Words from hijack

hijack noun
hijacker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hijack

Nglish: Translation of hijack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hijack for Arabic Speakers


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