\ ˈyōk How to pronounce yoke (audio) \
plural yokes

Definition of yoke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (such 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 plural usually yoke : two animals yoked or worked together
3a(1) : an oppressive agency
b : tie, link especially : marriage
4 : a fitted or shaped piece at the top of a skirt or at the shoulder of various garments


yoked; yoking

Definition of yoke (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a(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
2 : to join as if by a yoke
3 : to put to work

intransitive verb

: to become joined or linked

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Examples of yoke in a Sentence


a people able at last to throw off the yoke and to embrace freedom


The two oxen were yoked together. yoked several ideas together to come up with a new theory
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Enthusiasts can add to the realism of that experience with hardware that replaces keyboards and mice with airplane-style controls such as rudder peddles or a steering-wheel-like yoke. Matt Day, The Seattle Times, "‘Video games’? Pilots wonder how plane thief learned to do aerial acrobatics," 13 Aug. 2018 That means a stylish, minimalist exterior, featuring aluminum yokes, a steel headband, and a lot of high-quality plastic. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Microsoft Surface Headphones review: all the style without the polish," 15 Nov. 2018 Then use the yoke to bring the wings in line with the artificial horizon on the altitude indicator. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Land an Airplane, According to Bear Grylls," 27 Aug. 2018 The idea of liberating Americans from the yoke of car ownership undergirds much of Lyft’s rhetoric around product development. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, "Lyft’s monthly subscription plan is now available nationwide," 16 Oct. 2018 Peter Horban applies a little forward pressure on the yoke to keep the plane level. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The C-130J Super Hercules Is Ready for the Worst," 9 Oct. 2018 With the death of Stalin in March 1953, a yoke of suspicion and paranoia slowly lifted from all walks of Soviet life, even from the top-secret military research centers. Anatoly Zak, Popular Mechanics, "The Rocket That Launched Sputnik and Started the Space Race," 4 Oct. 2017 Merkel, who was raised behind the Soviet Union's Iron Curtain in East Germany, also noted pointedly that unified Germany is now free from the yoke of Moscow. Jonathan Allen /, NBC News, "Trump blasts NATO allies, calls Germany 'a captive of Russia'," 11 July 2018 But this yoke may come with the Kremlin’s new preeminence in the region. Trudy Rubin, Philly.com, "Report from Moscow: After missile strike, will Trump or Putin be seen as the winner? | Trudy Rubin," 18 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While Democrats support helping Dreamers, tackling such a complex policy issue while the funding fight remains unresolved seems unlikely, the aide said, noting previous efforts to yoke the two together had collapsed. Peter Nicholas, WSJ, "Shutdown Enters a New Week as House Democrats Ponder Next Move," 31 Dec. 2018 And if health insurance were not yoked to employment, just imagine how much freer workers would be to demand safer working conditions and better pay. Meagan Day, Vox, "Democratic socialism, explained by a democratic socialist," 1 Aug. 2018 Even for congressional Republicans who are yoked to Trump, free trade is a sore subject. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Trump’s Big Trade War Bluff," 5 July 2018 Khan hopes to yoke public anger after last year’s ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for corruption. Time, "Cricket Hero Imran Khan Led Pakistan's Team to Victory. As a Politician, He's Riding a Populist Wave," 28 June 2018 Even as Lemonade disinters the pain wrought by Jay-Z’s infidelity, Beyoncé yokes her fate to his. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Do Beyoncé Fans Have to Forgive Jay-Z?," 18 June 2018 Lunt says future systems that yoke UV-capturing perovskites to infrared-capturing organics could reach efficiencies of 20%, while still being nearly entirely transparent. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Skyscrapers could soon generate their own power, thanks to see-through solar cells," 28 June 2018 So long as America’s main political parties remained pragmatic associations of local interests, socially progressive Democrats in the North were yoked to segregationist Democrats in the South. Yascha Mounk, The New Yorker, "The Rise of McPolitics," 12 Jan. 2015 The funky new Tourists is the ideal place to stay, a 46-room complex that yokes together an old motel, mill, and 19th-century farmhouse and features onsite trails and river fishing. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Places to Visit in July," 15 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'yoke.' 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 yoke


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for 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

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Dictionary Entries near yoke





yoke bone

yoke elm


Statistics for yoke

Last Updated

5 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for yoke

The first known use of yoke was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for yoke



English Language Learners Definition of yoke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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



English Language Learners Definition of yoke (Entry 2 of 2)

: to connect (two animals) by a yoke


\ ˈyōk How to pronounce yoke (audio) \

Kids Definition of yoke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a wooden bar or frame by which two work animals (as oxen) are harnessed at the heads or necks for drawing a plow or load
2 : a frame fitted to a person's shoulders to carry a load in two equal parts
3 : a clamp that holds or connects two parts
4 plural usually yoke : two animals yoked together
5 : something that brings about pain, suffering, or a loss of freedom the yoke of tyranny
7 : a fitted or shaped piece at the shoulder of a garment or at the top of a skirt


yoked; yoking

Kids Definition of yoke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to put a yoke on The oxen were yoked together.
2 : to attach a work animal to Yoke the horse to the wagon.

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More from Merriam-Webster on yoke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with yoke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for yoke

Spanish Central: Translation of yoke

Nglish: Translation of yoke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of yoke for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about yoke

Comments on yoke

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


a strong desire or propensity

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