hi·​jack ˈhī-ˌjak How to pronounce hijack (audio)
hijacked; hijacking; hijacks

transitive verb

: 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
: 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
: 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)
: 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)
: 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
: to subject to extortion or swindling
hijacks them into spending nearly a billion dollars …Dave Armstrong
hijack noun
plural hijacks
hijacker noun
plural hijackers

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 Wisconsin Republicans accuse Biden of trying to 'hijack' credit for project Local Republican officials walked a line between praising the Microsoft announcement and deriding Biden on a call with reporters ahead of the event. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 8 May 2024 But Kamm also sees Tesla as a symbol of how the green transition is being hijacked for profit. Morgan Meaker, WIRED, 7 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for hijack 

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

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of hijack was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near hijack

Cite this Entry

“Hijack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hijack. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


variants also highjack
: to stop and steal from a moving vehicle
hijack a truck
hijack a load of furs
: to force a pilot to fly an aircraft where one wants
: to take control of as if by hijacking
hijacked the user's account
hijacker noun

Legal Definition


transitive verb
: 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
hijack noun
hijacker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on hijack

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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