Antedating of "Hijack" / "Hijacking"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue Feb 12 15:49:22 UTC 2013

Do I see variations in meaning in these early instances, that perhaps
should be separated?  The OED has one definition, essentially "taking
something that is moving", and a catchall "transf."

I see the following 4 variations:

1)  Taking something valuable illicitly.  (This example does not
involve goods on the move.)

 From Fred:
>1918 _Miami District Daily News_ (Miami, Oklahoma) 19 May 4
>(America's Historical Newspapers)  Mulcting four soldiers of $35 by
>the Joplin authorities might be termed legalized "Hijacking."

2)  The main sense.

At 2/11/2013 08:44 PM, Nathaniel Sharpe wrote:
>Date: Wednesday, August 9, 1916  Paper: Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK)  Volume:
>XI  Issue: 280  Page: 1, Tells of Shooting Osage "High Jack"
>According to a story told by R. W. Smith, an oil man of this city, there
>will be one less "high-jack" to contend with in the Osage hills for a
>time at least, as a result of his marksmanship, displayed in a pitched
>battle on the old ridge road late Sunday afternoon.
>Smith says he was showing some of his friends a lease near Keystone and
>was returning to Tula when he was confronted by a lone highwayman who
>commanded Smith and his party to "stick-em up."

3)  [I'm having difficulty coming up with a definition for the next;
it's not goods on the move nor physically forceful.]

>Date: Saturday, April 1, 1916  Paper: Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK)  Volume:
>XI  Issue: 169  Page: Four, The Man About Town (
>Knowing their immense wealth, pickpockets would immediately high-jack
>the whole crowd.

4)  Forceful takeover.

An OED quotation:
>1970   Daily Tel. Mag. 16 Jan. 17/2   When a virus enters a cell it
>hijacks it, and makes it do what it wants.


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