\ 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

By breaking up the chronology and yanking the audience back and forth between Theo’s fraught youth and crisis-ridden present, though, the film prevents an audience from gaining emotional traction. BostonGlobe.com, "‘The Goldfinch’ is well acted, absolutely watchable, and instantly forgettable - The Boston Globe," 12 Sep. 2019 Bevell will no doubt think about it, be yanked back into that place and time. Robert Klemko, SI.com, "Darrell Bevell Bounces Back Again, This Time in Detroit," 29 Aug. 2019 Just as wolves always eat lambs if given the chance, so Lucy will always yank the football just as Charlie Brown attempts to kick it; such is the nature of wolves and Lucys. Bruce Handy, The Atlantic, "The Peanuts Characters Aren’t Ordinary Kids," 29 Aug. 2019 Murkowski, 62, whose office is on the fifth floor, avoids elevators and often eschews the Senate’s small subway that connects the Hart and Dirksen buildings to the Capitol, even as her schedule yanks her back and forth between them all day long. Marc Lester, Anchorage Daily News, "A day in the life of a United States senator: Lisa Murkowski," 18 Aug. 2019 Last week at the National Conservatism Conference, University of Pennsylvania law professor Amy Wax stirred up controversy with a comment about immigration that, yanked out of context, seemed clearly racist. David French, National Review, "Amy Wax’s Critics Unfairly Smeared Her. But She’s Wrong.," 22 July 2019 Government watchdogs in the US and Europe who yanked the financial system back from the brink then set about constructing a safer, more stable financial industry. Jason Karaian, Quartz, "Deutsche Bank isn’t the only one rethinking investment banking," 13 July 2019 But any time Peter starts to creep a little too close to genuine wealth and comfortable living, a writer will come along to yank the character back to his young and hungry roots. Emily Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Spider-Man: Far From Home turns a class-conscious hero into a tech bro," 3 July 2019 Men in boats sink lines into its river, the muddy Hooghly—not to pull up fish, which are almost gone, but to yank up old, recyclable metal using magnets. Paul Salopek, National Geographic, "Take a virtual stroll through India's ‘city of joy’," 31 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Helping two other men who needed a third helper, an extra yank. Lisa Respers France, CNN, "'Billions' actress Melissa Errico helped save a man in the subway," 30 Aug. 2019 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

13 Oct 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).


ancient or antiquated

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