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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from hijack

hijack noun
hijacker noun

Synonyms for hijack


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Ransomware attacks were on the rise last year, especially those seeking to hijack critical public services. CBS News, "Cyberattack hobbles hospital chain Universal Health Services," 29 Sep. 2020 If successful, the ruse allows the malware to hijack the victim’s email conversations and send phony replies from bogus accounts. Jack Gillum, ProPublica, "Foreign Hackers Cripple Texas County’s Email System, Raising Election Security Concerns," 24 Sep. 2020 First, political voices from the Trump administration, such as Azar, need to pledge to abide by the recommendations of FDA professional staff and its independent expert committees—rather than hijack its scientific process. Albert Ko, Fortune, "Amid vaccine trials, the FDA is on trial itself," 24 Sep. 2020 Wi-Fi providers hijack every mistyped URL, redirecting the user to an ad-laden landing page of some sort. Jim Salter, Ars Technica, "A Chrome feature is creating enormous load on global root DNS servers," 25 Aug. 2020 Massospora fungi infect cicadas and hijack their bodies. Max Levy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Cicadas Are Delightful Weirdos You Should Learn to Love," 3 June 2020 Other biological theories have centered around ACE2, a protein that the virus uses to gain entry to and hijack cells. Grace Huckins, Wired, "Covid Kills More Men Than Women. Experts Still Can’t Explain Why," 9 July 2020 He was charged with two counts each of assault, threatening to commit a crime (murder) and threatening to bomb or hijack and single counts of negligent driving and disturbing the peace as a subsequent offense. Rich Harbert, USA TODAY, "Assault charges for man who refused to wear mask, coughed on 2 women, police say," 6 July 2020 Infection occurs when particles of the virus, SARS-CoV-2, enter human cells through a receptor called ACE2 and hijack those cells’ machinery to make copies of themselves. Shannon Hall, Scientific American, "Babies’ Mysterious Resilience to Coronavirus Intrigues Scientists," 14 July 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.

See More

First Known Use of hijack

1923, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for hijack

origin unknown

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about hijack

Time Traveler for hijack

Time Traveler

The first known use of hijack was in 1923

See more words from the same year

Statistics for hijack

Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hijack.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hijack. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Namesakes Word Quiz

  • a citrus fruit possibly named after a person
  • Which of the following is a fruit named after a Moroccan seaport?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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