Definition of hijack in English:


(also highjack)


  • 1 Illegally seize (an aircraft, ship, or vehicle) in transit and force it to go to a different destination or use it for one's own purposes.

    ‘three armed men hijacked a white van’
    ‘an eight-hour hijacking’
    • ‘Why go to all the trouble of hijacking the ship and then leave the cargo at the warehouse?’
    • ‘It involves chasing and seizing a supposedly hijacked ship and rescuing its crew members.’
    • ‘You can snatch weapons from your enemies' hands and hijack their all-new vehicles.’
    • ‘In a separate incident in the tribal areas yesterday, gunmen hijacked an official van and took hostage its two occupants.’
    • ‘A 29-year-old Italian former policeman was arrested yesterday after attempting to hijack an aircraft for the second time in three years.’
    • ‘The Consortium is attempting to label you as a deranged rogue who hijacked an armed ship.’
    • ‘Armed men hijack the vehicle when Dr. Quest is away, taking Race and Jonny to an underwater base.’
    • ‘So I hijacked the ship of the guy who kidnapped me.’
    • ‘In the end, they hijacked commercial aircrafts without detection or interdiction.’
    • ‘She remembered the war, which was thrust upon her father, King Dahir, just because some pirates had hijacked a ship belonging to the Caliph.’
    • ‘There, using a mock Boeing aircraft, he claimed he was taught how to smuggle guns onto aircraft and how to hijack an aircraft.’
    • ‘In court, Huckerby, of Clifton Road, was said to have taken a £1,000 bribe to let the gang hijack his vehicle.’
    • ‘This is a threat greater than hijacking or suicide hijacking an aircraft.’
    • ‘It took us three days by bullock cart to reach Delhi and there was no point in hijacking that vehicle.’
    • ‘Police today revealed a lorry hijacked by a gang of armed robbers has been found with its £1million load of electrical equipment still intact.’
    • ‘Their Subaru car was hijacked by the armed gang while returning to Charleroi last Friday prior to the start of the Bianchi Rally in Belgium.’
    • ‘I've hijacked your car and forced you to drive me to Florida.’
    • ‘They hijacked vehicles, even UN convoys, and staged kidnappings for ransom.’
    • ‘The crew decides to return to Earth to face charges from Starfleet Command related to hijacking their own ship.’
    • ‘A dangerous armed thief, who hijacked a car in Egham, and committed a further six offences, has been jailed for six-and-a-half-years.’
    commandeer, seize, take over, take possession of, skyjack
    appropriate, expropriate, confiscate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Steal (goods) by seizing them in transit.
      • ‘Brian Caton of the Prison Officers' Association said racist organisations should not be allowed to hijack the St George emblem.’
      • ‘I guess I should also apologise to Nick D' Angelo for hijacking the Beats Per Minute show in 1989.’
      • ‘To that end, he hijacks a tricycle laden with sweet treats and accidentally crashes the fast-moving contraption into the Magic Roundabout.’
      • ‘Icann has a new policy about domain name transfers which will make hijacking domains much easier.’
      • ‘Last year he helped expose a bug that was allowing hackers to hijack AOL Instant Messenger accounts.’
      • ‘We hijacked the best seats in the house, the front row of the balcony, where I waved my multicolored boa and mauve lace covered hand at him.’
      • ‘I even considered hijacking a couple of prints and jamming some waterfalls and sunsets in there to give myself a shot at the prize.’
      • ‘A bug in Movable Type allows spammers to hijack the ‘Mail This Entry’ blog feature.’
      • ‘There's never a good time to hijack the Constitution for political reasons.’
      • ‘Whitelists won't catch spammers who have hijacked good known addresses, but will catch spammers who haven't.’
      • ‘In the latest example, Tony had to step in and place Paulie Walnuts in charge of a cigarette hijacking operation that Christopher apparently botched.’
    2. 1.2Take over (something) and use it for a different purpose.
      ‘the organization had been hijacked by extremists’
      • ‘Rational voices are drowned out and extremists are all too willing to hijack the debate.’
      • ‘‘Looks-wise, you're perfect,’ Craigy-boy said, hijacking an interview with the Mirror and using it as an open address to the actress.’
      • ‘He has grasped the fact that it is absurd for conservatives to have allowed issues of conservationism to be hijacked by the left.’
      • ‘He has been slowly hijacking the machinery of government and developing parallel non-democratic governance structures.’
      • ‘The public power belongs to everyone and when majorities hijack it for sectarian purposes they act oppressively.’
      • ‘It also helps to prevent the discussion being hijacked suddenly by a questioner in a totally different direction.’
      • ‘Here a place with hardly a history hijacks a past.’
      • ‘Tonight's quote is from the California Congressman who accused the Ninth Circuit Court of hijacking the electoral process.’
      • ‘We should not let racist organisations hijack our national flag.’
      • ‘The word ‘filibuster’ comes from the Spanish word for ‘pirate,’ and that is exactly what the filibuster does; it hijacks the democratic process.’
      • ‘He completely hijacks the conversation with streams of consciousness, which are very amusing but very self-protective.’
      • ‘Mr. Kanthan does not want to discuss the script lest somebody hijacks it and makes the movie.’
      • ‘Where Pringle is even-handed in showing how extremists have hijacked the debate over GM food, Nestle is an unapologetic partisan.’
      • ‘Sun Green cleverly hijacks the media with her own message to become a leader of a new youth movement.’
      • ‘If the WTO is to be a democratic institution, it must not allow its green room to be hijacked by a few.’
      • ‘It hijacks the universalism of justice to serve partisan ideological ends.’


  • An incident or act of hijacking.

    • ‘André Steyn owes his current wellbeing to his mobile phone after the selfless device took a bullet for the merchant during an attempted hijack.’
    • ‘At least in the commentary box it is, and it is so blatant that ‘conspiracy’ is the wrong word - it is a heist and a hijack.’
    • ‘Singh pledged that India's fight against terrorism would continue and the hijack would be ‘retributed and justice sought’.’
    • ‘The three run some of the biggest hijacks and burglaries New York has ever seen.’
    • ‘The control tower notifies several air traffic control centres that a hijack is taking place.’
    • ‘They abandoned the wedding party and responded to the hijack call, and arrested two suspects.’
    • ‘He immediately cancelled his Siberian vacation upon hearing news of the hijack, and set to deal with the incident.’
    • ‘The use of handheld cameras, natural lighting and sharp editing creates the feeling of, ‘actually being in the hijack as it's happening.’’
    • ‘The Saudi statement gave no motive for the hijack attempt.’
    • ‘Others may perform what's known as a browser hijack.’
    • ‘So they went underground, formed the Red Army Faction, and carried out bank raids, kidnappings, hijacks and bombings.’
    • ‘After the hijack attempt, he says he took stock, realising that ‘life might end any minute and I really need to push things on a bit’.’
    • ‘Tokcan was arrested after the hijack, but escaped from jail the following year.’
    • ‘In a loud voice, tell him that this is a hijack and that you are abducting him.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, just watching the address bar on your Internet browser won't inform you of any hijacks.’
    • ‘Once the unfortunate Afghans forced the skipper of the Tampa to sail to a port not of his choosing, it became a maritime hijack, analogous to a plane hijack.’
    seizure, seizing, taking, taking over, taking away, appropriation, appropriating, commandeering, expropriation, expropriating, confiscation, confiscating, requisition, requisitioning, hijack, hijacking, wresting, usurping, pre-empting, arrogation, claiming
    View synonyms


1920s (originally US): of unknown origin.