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See also: Yank and þank


Etymology 1[edit]

Attested since 1822; from Scots. Unknown origin.



yank (plural yanks)

  1. A sudden, vigorous pull (sometimes defined as mass times jerk, or rate of change of force).
  2. (slang) A masturbation session.
    • 2012, Bonnie Dee, ‎Summer Devon, Serious Play (page 81)
      He rested his hand on his bare chest, an innocent enough spot, but soon it drifted of its own accord down his stomach to slide beneath the waistband of his briefs. Fine. A quick yank would relieve the sexual tension that simmered in him.
  • (sudden, vigorous pull): jerk, tug


yank (third-person singular simple present yanks, present participle yanking, simple past and past participle yanked)

  1. (transitive) To pull something with a quick, strong action.
    • 2015, Elizabeth Royte, Vultures Are Revolting. Here’s Why We Need to Save Them., National Geographic (December 2015)[1]
      Now a white-backed rams its head down the wildebeest’s throat and yanks out an eight-inch length of trachea, ribbed like a vacuum hose.
  2. (transitive) To remove from distribution.
    They yanked the product as soon as they learned it was unsafe.
  • (pull with a quick strong action): jerk, tug
  • (remove from circulation): pull, recall
Derived terms[edit]
  • yank” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.

Etymology 2[edit]

Clipping of yankee


yank (plural yanks)

  1. (often derogatory) A yankee.