hi·​jack | \ˈhī-ˌjak \
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

Avoid checking the news first thing in the morning and before bed, which might hijack your day or interfere with sleep. Samantha Boardman, Marie Claire, "Help! The News Is Making Me Feel Depressed," 9 Oct. 2018 Nielsen and a growing number of researchers want to hijack the biochemical processes of living cells to turn them into microscopic cyborgs — part living things, part programmable machines. Eric Smalley, Discover Magazine, "Cellular Cyborgs: How Programmable DNA Strands Might Control Healing," 25 Sep. 2018 Some benevolent tech billionaire itching to make up for his or her products hijacking our attention should put together a trust that would financially allow every human being on earth to experience this particular natural oddity on horseback. Candice Rainey, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Colorado Ranch Retreat That Gives You a Real Taste of Cowboy Life," 20 July 2018 Then, unscrupulous legislators, led by Lake County’s state former senator and now Supervisor of Elections Alan Hays, hijacked the money to feed bloated state bureaucracy, pay off state debt and keep the corporate welfare flowing. Lauren Ritchie, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Environment, voters score big win over contemptuous legislators," 29 June 2018 This harms not only individuals whose computers are hijacked for cryptocurrency mining, but also universities, companies and other large organizations. Richard Enbody, Scientific American, "Cryptojacking Spreads Across the Web," 9 May 2018 The one person who hasn’t written Laurie off is her granddaughter, but Allyson is constantly caught between Laurie and Karen, with her mother unable to forgive Laurie for essentially hijacking her childhood. Bryan Bishop, The Verge, "The new Halloween is a slasher movie with an actual message," 19 Oct. 2018 Armed men dressed as security forces and manning fake checkpoints have hijacked trucks and robbed travelers, rendering the main Baghdad-Kirkuk highway unsafe for a period of weeks. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "The Pentagon says ISIS is “well-positioned” to make a comeback," 17 Aug. 2018 The feelings can hijack your well-being, wrecking your sleep and concentration and leaving you with hard-to-shake nerves. Sarah Richards, Woman's Day, "Quiet Your Mind in Anxious Times With These Expert Tricks," 14 Aug. 2018

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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Statistics for hijack

Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for hijack

The first known use of hijack was in 1923

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More Definitions for hijack



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with hijack

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hijack

Spanish Central: Translation of hijack

Nglish: Translation of hijack for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hijack for Arabic Speakers

Comments on hijack

What made you want to look up hijack? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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