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[yohk] /yoʊk/
noun, plural yokes for 1, 3–20, yoke for 2.
a device for joining together a pair of draft animals, especially oxen, usually consisting of a crosspiece with two bow-shaped pieces, each enclosing the head of an animal.
Compare harness (def 1).
a pair of draft animals fastened together by a yoke:
five yoke of oxen.
something resembling a yoke or a bow of a yoke in form or use.
a frame fitting the neck and shoulders of a person, for carrying a pair of buckets or the like, one at each end.
an agency of oppression, subjection, servitude, etc.
an emblem or symbol of subjection, servitude, slavery, etc., as an archway under which prisoners of war were compelled to pass by the ancient Romans and others.
something that couples or binds together; a bond or tie.
Machinery. a viselike piece gripping two parts firmly together.
Also called fork. a forklike termination for a rod or shaft, inside which another part is secured.
a fitting for the neck of a draft animal for suspending the tongue of a cart, carriage, etc., from a harness.
a crosshead attached to the upper piston of an opposed-piston engine with rods to transmit power to the crankshaft.
(in an airplane) a double handle, somewhat like a steering wheel in form, by which the elevators are controlled.
Nautical. a crossbar on the head of the rudder of a small boat, having lines or chains attached to the ends so as to permit the steering of the boat from forward.
a shaped piece in a garment, fitted about or below the neck and shoulders or about the hips, from which the rest of the garment hangs.
a horizontal piece forming the top of a window frame.
a Y -shaped piece connecting branch pipes with a main soil pipe.
Television. an electromagnetic assembly placed around the neck of a cathode-ray tube to produce and control the scanning motion of electron beams inside the tube.
British Dialect.
  1. the time during which a plowman and team work without stopping; a period of plowing.
  2. a measure or area of land equal to over 50 but less than 60 acres.
a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter Y.
verb (used with object), yoked, yoking.
to put a yoke on; join or couple by means of a yoke.
to attach (a draft animal) to a plow or vehicle:
to yoke oxen.
to harness a draft animal to (a plow or vehicle):
to yoke a wagon.
to join, couple, link, or unite.
Obsolete. to bring into subjection or servitude.
verb (used without object), yoked, yoking.
to be or become joined, linked, or united.
Origin of yoke1
before 900; (noun) Middle English yok(e), Old English geoc; cognate with Dutch juk, German Joch, Old Norse ok, Latin jugum, Greek zygón, Hittite yugan, Sanskrit yuga; (v.) Middle English yoken, Old English geocian, derivative of the noun
Related forms
yokeless, adjective
well-yoked, adjective
2. See pair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for yoked
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There do they pick and shovel; or bend forward, yoked in long strings to box-barrow or overloaded tumbril; joyous, with one mind.

    The French Revolution Thomas Carlyle
  • The princess then yoked up the mules and they started for home.

  • To the long wagon, which had a high rack all around it, were yoked a pair of milk-white oxen, round and handsome.

  • At the last words, they came side by side, as if yoked in a chariot.

    The War Trail Mayne Reid
  • In his new work Lechworthy was yoked with an unbeliever, or at least with one who doubted.

    The Exiles of Faloo Barry Pain
  • I have been yoked to my push-cart by the immortal gods; and soon my turn and trial will end.

    The Book of Khalid Ameen Rihani
  • He yoked a bull and a horse together, plowed the seashore, and sowed salt instead of grain.

  • And when he had all he needed, the steeds were yoked, and he set off.

    Cyropaedia Xenophon
  • At sunset, the relay oxen were yoked, and they continued their course by the stars.

    The Mission; or Scenes in Africa Captain Frederick Marryat
British Dictionary definitions for yoked


noun (pl) yokes, yoke
a wooden frame, usually consisting of a bar with an oxbow or similar collar-like piece at either end, for attaching to the necks of a pair of draught animals, esp oxen, so that they can be worked as a team
something resembling a yoke in form or function, such as a frame fitting over a person's shoulders for carrying buckets suspended at either end
a fitted part of a garment, esp around the neck, shoulders, and chest or around the hips, to which a gathered, pleated, flared, or unfitted part is attached
an immense oppressive force or burden: under the yoke of a tyrant
a pair of oxen or other draught animals joined together by a yoke
a part, esp one of relatively thick cross section, that secures two or more components so that they move together
a crosshead that transmits the drive of an opposed piston engine from the upper of a pair of linked pistons to the crankshaft through a connecting rod
a steel framework around the formwork during the casting of concrete
(nautical) a crossbar fixed athwartships to the head of a rudderpost in a small boat, to which are attached ropes or cables for steering
a Y-shaped cable, rope, or chain, used for holding, towing, etc
(in the ancient world) a symbolic reconstruction of a yoke, consisting of two upright spears with a third lashed across them, under which conquered enemies were compelled to march, esp in Rome
a mark, token, or symbol of slavery, subjection, or suffering
(rare) a link, tie, or bond: the yoke of love
(Brit, dialect) a period of steady work, esp the time during which a ploughman and his team work at a stretch
(Irish) any device, unusual object, or gadget: where's the yoke for opening tins?
(transitive) to secure or harness (a draught animal) to (a plough, vehicle, etc) by means of a yoke
to join or be joined by means of a yoke; couple, unite, or link
(transitive) (obsolete) to oppress, burden, or enslave
Derived Forms
yokeless, adjective
Word Origin
Old English geoc; related to Old High German ioh, Old Norse ok, Gothic juk, Latin iugum, Sanskrit yugam
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for yoked



Old English geoc "yoke," earlier geoht "pair of draft animals," from Proto-Germanic *yukam (cf. Old Saxon juk, Old Norse ok, Danish aag, Middle Dutch joc, Dutch juk, Old High German joh, German joch, Gothic juk "yoke"), from PIE *jugom "joining" (see jugular). Figurative sense of "heavy burden, oppression, servitude" was in Old English.


Old English geocian, from yoke (n.). Related: Yoked; yoking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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yoked in Medicine

yoke (yōk)
See jugum.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for yoked



To rob with violence; rob and mutilate; mug: They decided to ''yoke'' the old man with the hearing aid

[1900s+; said to be fr the seizing of the yoke of a sailor's collar from behind in order to subdue and rob him]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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yoked in the Bible

(1.) Fitted on the neck of oxen for the purpose of binding to them the traces by which they might draw the plough, etc. (Num. 19:2; Deut. 21:3). It was a curved piece of wood called _'ol_. (2.) In Jer. 27:2; 28:10, 12 the word in the Authorized Version rendered "yoke" is _motah_, which properly means a "staff," or as in the Revised Version, "bar." These words in the Hebrew are both used figuratively of severe bondage, or affliction, or subjection (Lev. 26:13; 1 Kings 12:4; Isa. 47:6; Lam. 1:14; 3:27). In the New Testament the word "yoke" is also used to denote servitude (Matt. 11:29, 30; Acts 15:10; Gal. 5:1). (3.) In 1 Sam. 11:7, 1 Kings 19:21, Job 1:3 the word thus translated is _tzemed_, which signifies a pair, two oxen yoked or coupled together, and hence in 1 Sam. 14:14 it represents as much land as a yoke of oxen could plough in a day, like the Latin _jugum_. In Isa. 5:10 this word in the plural is translated "acres."

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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