Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. Informal To start the engine of (an automobile, for example) without a key, as by short-circuiting the ignition system.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To start an automobile engine by bypassing the ignition key wiring

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. to start (a car) by using a wire instead of a key, as when stealing the car; the wire is connected to points in the ignition circuit that bypass the key.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. start (a car engine) without a key by bypassing the ignition interlock

Etymologies

hot (referring to electrical current) + wire (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Heavy traffic can make it difficult to hear his dogs, and during our first day in the field someone tried to hot-wire an ATV Bolen had left at the truck.

    The Boar War

  • An ambitious, multibillion-dollar project to hot-wire the new Southwest border fence with high-tech radar, cameras and satellite signals has been plagued with serious system failures and repeated delays and will probably not be completed for another seven years — if it is finished at all.

    Matthew Yglesias » Back to the Wall

  • Growing vegetables is useful; but so is learning how to shoot a gun, hot-wire a car, and manipulate our way into a bomb shelter.

    Peg Aloi: Tough Gals: Do They Still Exist?

  • It takes him eighteen seconds to jimmy the door, another thirty to hot-wire it “fruits of a misspent youth”, and he drives it away and hides it in a strip mall parking lot in SJC, where Ben picks him up.

    Savages

  • Her dad had taught her a lot about old trucks, like how to hot-wire the ignition.

    SILENT TRUTH

  • I learned how to pick locks, how to hot-wire cars.

    AMERICAN SUBVERSIVE

  • The list of equipment is pretty extensive, too, and new items are arriving frequently (like a new hot-wire foam cutter).

    Boing Boing

  • Hearing his name mentioned, Obatma honked the horn of the Capitol Police cruiser that he was trying to hot-wire and raised his fist outside the car.

    Going Mutant

  • Just as I was about to bash my head against the wall I noticed the pickup in front of the boat, anybody could hot-wire that!

    Jay's Journal

  • If only I knew how to hot-wire a car, I could go get help.

    Vince Flynn Collectors’ Edition #2

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