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verb (used with or without object)
  1. to pull or remove abruptly and vigorously: Yank down on the bell rope. He was yanked out of school.
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  1. an abrupt, vigorous pull; jerk.
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Origin of yank

First recorded in 1810–20; origin uncertain


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1. pluck, tug, tear.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for yanked

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


  1. to pull, jerk, or move with a sharp movement; tug
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  1. a sharp jerking movement; tug
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Word Origin

C19: of unknown origin


  1. a slang word for an American
  2. US informal short for Yankee
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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."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper