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noun \ˈyōk\

Simple Definition of yoke

  • : a bar or frame that is attached to the heads or necks of two work animals (such as oxen) so that they can pull a plow or heavy load

  • : something that causes people to be treated cruelly and unfairly especially by taking away their freedom

Full Definition of yoke

plural yokes

  1. 1 a :  a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together b :  an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person c :  a frame fitted to a person's shoulders to carry a load in two equal portions d :  a bar by which the end of the tongue of a wagon or carriage is suspended from the collars of the harness e (1) :  a crosspiece on the head of a boat's rudder (2) :  an airplane control operating the elevators and ailerons f :  a frame from which a bell is hung g :  a clamp or similar piece that embraces two parts to hold or unite them in position

  2. 2 plural usually yoke :  two animals yoked or worked together

  3. 3 a (1) :  an oppressive agency (2) :  servitude, bondage b :  tie, link; especially :  marriage

  4. 4 :  a fitted or shaped piece at the top of a skirt or at the shoulder of various garments

Examples of yoke

  1. <a people able at last to throw off the yoke and to embrace freedom>

Origin of yoke

Middle English yok, from Old English geoc; akin to Old High German joh yoke, Latin jugum, Greek zygon, Sanskrit yuga, Latin jungere to join

First Known Use: before 12th century

Other Animal Husbandry Terms




Simple Definition of yoke

  • : to connect (two animals) by a yoke

Full Definition of yoke


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a (1) :  to put a yoke on (2) :  to join in or with a yoke b :  to attach a draft animal to; also :  to attach (a draft animal) to something

  3. 2 :  to join as if by a yoke

  4. 3 :  to put to work

  5. intransitive verb
  6. :  to become joined or linked

Examples of yoke

  1. The two oxen were yoked together.

  2. <yoked several ideas together to come up with a new theory>

Before 12th Century

First Known Use of yoke

before 12th century

Seen and Heard

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February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

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