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 by stopping a vehicle on the highway
b : to commandeer (a flying airplane) especially by coercing the pilot at gunpoint
c : to stop and steal from (a vehicle in transit)
d : kidnap
2a : to steal or rob as if by hijacking
b : to subject to extortion or swindling

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Other Words from hijack

hijack noun
hijacker noun

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Your internet service provider automatically assigns your DNS settings, but hackers can hijack them to redirect traffic to malicious websites. Kim Komando, USA TODAY, "5 free downloads to keep your PC or Mac secure," 3 July 2020 Viruses, including Marburg and Ebola, have been found to hijack filopodia, forcing them to grow longer, branch, and ferry virus particles into their neighbors. Gregory Barber, Wired, "Old Drugs Could Reveal a New Way to Attack the Coronavirus," 27 June 2020 A century ago, when primaries were introduced as a progressive reform to take power away from corrupt party bosses, insiders worried that radicals would use them to hijack the two main parties—and their fears were soon realized. Astra Taylor, The New Yorker, "A New Group of Leftist Primary Challengers Campaign Through Protests and the Coronavirus," 17 June 2020 This means that cells must express all of these proteins for the virus to be able to infiltrate them and hijack their machinery to replicate. Leslie Kay, Scientific American, "Why COVID-19 Makes People Lose Their Sense of Smell," 13 June 2020 But an organized fringe element has sought to hijack the protests, destroy property and unleash violence, government officials say. Fox News, "Georgia GOP candidate says Facebook 'defending terrorists' by censoring her warning to Antifa," 8 June 2020 As long as the protests stay smartly focused on advancing lasting social change, and remain vigilant against anarchists and opportunists who would hijack a just movement, progress will occur. Phillip Morris, National Geographic, "To enact change in the world, we must protest," 6 June 2020 When a person is infected, SARS-CoV-2 viral particles get into cells of the body and hijack the cells’ molecular machinery to make viral copies of themselves, which can then go on to infect someone else. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "Flawed COVID hypothesis may have saved Washington from being NYC," 28 May 2020 Peaceful protesters resist having their message hijacked by violence. NBC News, "U.S. rocked by another night of protests, a setback in the fight against COVID-19 and Christo dies," 31 May 2020

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.

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First Known Use of hijack

1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hijack

origin unknown

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Time Traveler for hijack

Time Traveler

The first known use of hijack was in 1923

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Statistics for hijack

Last Updated

9 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hijack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hijack. Accessed 13 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for hijack


How to pronounce hijack (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hijack

: to stop and steal (a moving vehicle)
: to steal (something) from a moving vehicle that you have stopped
: to take control of (an aircraft) by force


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
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on hijack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hijack

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hijack

Spanish Central: Translation of hijack

Nglish: Translation of hijack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hijack for Arabic Speakers

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