\ ˈyaŋk How to pronounce yank (audio) \
yanked; yanking; yanks

Definition of yank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to pull on something with a quick vigorous movement

transitive verb

1 : to pull or extract with a quick vigorous movement
2 : to remove in or as if in an abrupt manner yanked the story from the evening edition


noun (1)

Definition of yank (Entry 2 of 3)

: a strong sudden pull : jerk


noun (2)
\ ˈyaŋk How to pronounce Yank (audio) \

Definition of Yank (Entry 3 of 3)

: yankee

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Synonyms & Antonyms for yank

Synonyms: Verb

buck, hitch, hoick, jerk, jolt, twitch

Synonyms: Noun (1)

draw, haul, jerk, pluck, pull, tug, wrench

Antonyms: Noun (1)


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Examples of yank in a Sentence


He yanked the door shut. She yanked on the dog's leash.

Noun (1)

had to give the shoe a good yank to get it off
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Now that the feds are yanking federal funds for his bullet train to nowhere, Mr. Newsom can blame the failure on the President Democrats love to blame, well, for everything. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Trump Rescues Newsom," 20 Feb. 2019 With 575 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque, the SVR obviously wasn't going to struggle yanking the Yamaha up a boat ramp. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "The Secret Weapon for Towing? Air Suspension," 20 Nov. 2018 There are countless disturbing moments in Derek Doneen’s new documentary, The Price of Free, but perhaps the most upsetting of them all is a bit of footage yanked off the Internet. Maya Singer, Vogue, "The Price of Free Tells the Story of Human Rights Activist Kailash Satyarthi, Whose Efforts Have Rescued 80,000 Child Factory Workers in India," 29 Oct. 2018 Love does not require that families be torn apart, with babies yanked from their mothers. Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, "From pulpits across America, sermons condemn separation of immigrant families," 19 June 2018 The external world, overflowing with demands and noise, is constantly yanking our awareness away from ourselves and toward it. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Knowing yourself brings strength in facing the world's demands," 1 Mar. 2018 Several television networks, including the president’s favorite, Fox News Channel, yanked a Trump campaign advertisement off the air on the eve of the election, determining that its portrayal of a murderous immigrant went too far. Jill Colvin, The Seattle Times, "Added Democratic ranks pose threat to Trump governing agenda," 7 Nov. 2018 Apple, YouTube and Spotify have permanently yanked some of Jones’ content, Facebook has suspended him for 30 days and removed some of his pages, while Twitter gave him a weeklong timeout. Yaron Steinbuch, Fox News, "White House 'taking a look' at regulating Google," 28 Aug. 2018 Down East manager yanked top Rangers prospect Leody Taveras for not running out a grounder. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Nationals spinning out of control under rookie manager Dave Martinez," 7 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With one yank another young woman had undone the bow. Laura Jacobs, WSJ, "An Exhibition to Tickle You ‘Pink’," 11 Sep. 2018 On the single gravel turn used at the Phoenix test track, a quick yank on the handbrake is all that’s needed to make the car turn-in. Josh Jacquot, Car and Driver, "Behind the Wheel of Subaru's WRX STI Global Rallycross Car," 20 Oct. 2017 Sweed gave him a little yank, not even hard, on the jersey. Zach Helfand, latimes.com, "USC-Texas revisited: LenDale White and what happened after fourth-and-two," 13 Sep. 2017 The pony-tail yank was captured by the jail’s security cameras. Gwen Filosa, miamiherald, "Inmate attacks inmate over their breakup, cops say," 1 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yank.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of yank


1822, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun (1)

circa 1864, in the meaning defined above

Noun (2)

1778, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for yank


origin unknown

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Dictionary Entries near yank

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Statistics for yank

Last Updated

17 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for yank

The first known use of yank was in 1778

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More Definitions for yank



English Language Learners Definition of yank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to suddenly pull (something) in a quick, forceful way
: to quickly or suddenly remove (something or someone)



English Language Learners Definition of yank (Entry 2 of 3)

: a strong, quick pull



English Language Learners Definition of Yank (Entry 3 of 3)

informal : a person from the U.S.


\ ˈyaŋk How to pronounce yank (audio) \

Kids Definition of yank

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong sudden pull : jerk


yanked; yanking

Kids Definition of yank (Entry 2 of 2)

: to pull suddenly or forcefully I go over and yank his arm and make him sit down.— Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh

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More from Merriam-Webster on yank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yank

Spanish Central: Translation of yank

Nglish: Translation of yank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yank for Arabic Speakers

Comments on yank

What made you want to look up yank? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reflect, repel, echo, or resound

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