\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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)


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While New York, New Jersey and Illinois all subsidize nuclear power as part of their clean-energy strategies, Ohio is the first to do so by directly yanking support from renewables. Will Wade / Bloomberg, Time, "A Fight Over Subsidies for 2 Ohio Nuclear Plants Draws Claim That China Is 'Invading' the Electric Grid," 30 Aug. 2019 The Padres used a pair of mound visits in the ninth inning before Max Muncy polished off his monstrous day by yanking a two-run, game-ending double — his third extra-base hit of the day. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Padres’ Mejia, Hedges catching dilemma swirls anew in Dodgers loss," 4 Aug. 2019 Nike's decision to yank a sneaker with a Betsy Ross American flag on its heel has spurred a conservative backlash against the shoe company as the nation celebrates the July 4th holiday. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "Will Betsy Ross flag shoe controversy hurt Nike or help it?," 4 July 2019 Conte quit as premier on Aug. 20 after nationalist leader Matteo Salvini yanked his right-wing League party’s support from the populist coalition that has been governing the country with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement since June 2018. Washington Post, "Trump weighs in as Italians toil to form a new government," 28 Aug. 2019 In markets around the globe, investors reacted to these developments as powerful signals to yank their money to safety. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Trump Can Battle China or Expand the Economy. He Can’t Do Both.," 26 Aug. 2019 The United States last had a budget deficit of more than $1 trillion between 2009 and 2012, when President Obama ran a large bailout for the financial markets and a stimulus plan to yank the country out of the financial crisis. Los Angeles Times, "U.S. budget deficit to top $1 trillion in 2020, two years sooner than expected," 21 Aug. 2019 The 49ers yanked The Exalted One for his own protection — physical and psychological. Gary Peterson, The Mercury News, "Jimmy Garoppolo’s preseason stinker reminds of young Joe Montana’s ugly game," 20 Aug. 2019 Another school year begins On Monday morning at 7:50 a.m., Jacobo-Smith yanked a cord dangling from the tower to trigger the bell's ring, welcoming her students for another year. Lily Altavena, azcentral, "Guadalupe's Frank Elementary School elementary rings in a new year with historic bell," 5 Aug. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about yank

Dictionary Entries near yank

Yang Shao







Statistics for yank

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for yank

The first known use of yank was in 1778

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


concealment of treason or felony

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!