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See also: Yank and þank


Etymology 1[edit]

Attested since 1822; from Scots yank. Unknown origin.


  • enPR: yăngk, IPA(key): /jæŋk/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -æŋk


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.


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, informal) To remove from distribution.
    They yanked the product as soon as they learned it was unsafe.
Derived terms[edit]
  • yank” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2021.

Etymology 2[edit]

Clipping of yankee


yank (plural yanks)

  1. (often derogatory) A Yankee.



Unknown; likely imitative. Compare whang (a blow).


yank (plural yanks)

  1. a sudden tug, a jerk, a yank
  2. a blow, a slap
    • 1833, James Hogg, The Brownie of Bodsbeck[2], page 51:
      I took up my neive an’ gae him a yank on the haffat till I gart his bit brass cap rattle against the wa’.
      I raised my fist and gave him a blow on the temple that made his little brass cap rattle against the wall.


yank (third-person singular present yanks, present participle yankin, past yankt, past participle yankt)

  1. to jerk, to pull suddenly
  2. to move quickly or in a lively manner