verb (used with or without object)

to pull or remove abruptly and vigorously: Yank down on the bell rope. He was yanked out of school.


an abrupt, vigorous pull; jerk.

Origin of yank

First recorded in 1810–20; origin uncertain

Synonyms for yank

1. pluck, tug, tear.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for yanked

jerk, tear, snatch, wrench, snap, tug, draw, hitch, lug, twitch, extract, vellicate, evulse

Examples from the Web for yanked

Contemporary Examples of yanked

Historical Examples of yanked

  • I'm not going to be yanked by you all over the earth, to write news articles on the run!

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • Tresler seized him by the coat collar and yanked him suddenly upon his feet.

    The Night Riders

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • They yanked the chains out of his hands and took after that poet as if he owed 'em something.

    Cape Cod Stories

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • Dennison raced to the nearest apartment building and yanked at the door.


    Robert Sheckley

  • He yanked Novak to his feet and shook him as he would a sack of meal.

    Vulcan's Workshop

    Harl Vincent

British Dictionary definitions for yanked



to pull, jerk, or move with a sharp movement; tug


a sharp jerking movement; tug

Word Origin for yank

C19: of unknown origin



a slang word for an American
US informal short for Yankee
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

Word Origin and History for yanked



1822, Scottish, of unknown origin. Related: Yanked; yanking. The noun is 1818 in sense of "sudden blow, cuff."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper