Kidnapping vs Hijacking

by Weer Welar
(Hhoms, Libya)

Sometimes people try to hijack planes

Sometimes people try to hijack planes

What's the difference between "kidnapping" and "hijacking"? When should I use each one?

Good question Weer welar.


To steal, carry off, or abduct by force or fraud. It is especially common to use kidnap when describing a hostage situation or when a ransom is requested.


Is used when something is stolen or taken by force. (to steal, to rob). It is usually used when something is taken from a contained area. It can also be used when something is stopped or control over something is lost. (a plane, train, bus, security truck).

Examples in Use

  • There has been a kidnapping in one of the local schools (a little girl was taken by a stranger and has not been seen for 12 hours).

  • The plan was hijacked by three women.

  • I couldn't find my son and I was afraid that someone might have kidnapped him.

  • The gang was planning to hijack a van before robbing the bank.

  • Finding someone within the first 24 hours of being kidnapped is crucial.

  • The pirates hijacked the fishing boat and threw all the crew overboard.

  • The criminals tried to kidnap the president by hijacking air force one.

    General Rule

    We use kidnap when someone has been taken away by force or without consent. This happens a lot with children but also adults can be kidnapped. Just remember that "kid" means child...and kidnappings happen to people.

    We use hijack when we talk about taking something over by force. It is usually something that is mobile and that contains or carries people or things (boats, planes, cars, buses etc).

    I hope that the difference is clear now Weer Welar. :)

    Have a great day!

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