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Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage
Robert AllenRobert Allen



is the forcible leading away of a minor (with or without the minor's consent) for marriage or seduction or the breaking of a legal custodial arrangement for the children of divorced parents. Although there is some overlap in meaning with kidnap (late 17c), kidnapping is not restricted to minors and is usually done for the purpose of demanding a ransom from the victim's family or employers. The more recent hijacking (20c, of unknown origin) applies specifically to vehicles, especially aircraft. All three words have applied to the seizure and detention of political hostages in the Middle East since the 1980s and particularly in the first decade of the 21c. Carjacking is an urban development of the 1990s and still features widely in news reports, where carjack appears as a verb and a noun

(Police said the violence used was the worst they had come across in the 30 carjack incidents in the area since the start of the year—Times, 1994

Three axe-wielding thieves robbed a cash van, crashed a stolen car into a bus and carjacked a woman in Timperley yesterday morning—Manchester Evening News, 2007).