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A bow yoke on a bullock team (wooden bar).
A yoke (aviation).


Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English ġeoc, from Proto-Germanic *juką, from Proto-Indo-European *yugóm. Cognate with West Frisian jok, Dutch juk, German Joch, Danish åg, Swedish ok, Gothic 𐌾𐌿𐌺 ‎(juk), Latin iugum (English jugular), Ancient Greek ζυγός ‎(zugós, yoke), Sanskrit युग ‎(yugá, yoke, team), Old Church Slavonic иго ‎(igo) (Russian и́го ‎(ígo)), Persian یوغ ‎(yuğ). Compare yoga.


yoke ‎(plural yokes)

  1. A bar or frame of wood by which two oxen are joined at the heads or necks for working together.
    • Alexander Pope
      A yearling bullock to thy name shall smoke, / Untamed, unconscious of the galling yoke.
  2. A pair (of animals, especially oxen).
    • 1526, William Tyndale, trans. Bible, Luke XIV:
      And another sayd: I have bought fyve yooke of oxen, and I must goo to prove them, I praye the have me excused.
  3. A frame made to fit the neck and shoulders of a person, used for carrying a pair of buckets, etc., one at each end of the frame.
  4. A frame worn on the neck of an animal, such as a cow, pig, or goose, to prevent passage through a fence.
  5. (figuratively) A burden; something which represses or restrains a person.
  6. A frame or convex piece by which a bell is hung for ringing it.
  7. The part of a shirt that stretches over the shoulders, usually made out of a doubled piece of fabric. Or, a pair of fabric panels on trousers (especially jeans) or a skirt, across the back of the garment below the waistband.
    • 1913, Willa Cather, O Pioneers!
      [...] this city child was dressed in what was then called the "Kate Greenaway" manner, and her red cashmere frock, gathered full from the yoke, came almost to the floor.
  8. (bodybuilding) Well-developed muscles of the neck and shoulders.
    • 2010, Jim Wendler, "Build an NFL Neck", Men's Fitness (April), page 73.
      Nothing says you're a dedicated lifter and true athlete more than a massive yoke—that is, the muscles of the neck, traps, and rear delts.
  9. (aviation) The column-mounted control wheel of an aircraft.
  10. (electronics) The electromagnetic coil that deflects the electron beam in a CRT (Cathode Ray Tube).
  11. (nautical) A fitting placed across the head of the rudder with a line attached at each end by which a boat may be steered. In modern use it is primarily found in sailing canoes and kayaks.
  12. (agriculture, dated, uncommon) A cowpoke.
  13. (glassblowing) A Y-shaped stand used to support a blowpipe or punty while reheating in the glory hole.
  14. (engineering) A bent crosspiece connecting two other parts.
  15. A tie securing two timbers together, not used for part of a regular truss, but serving a temporary purpose, as to provide against unusual strain.
  16. (dressmaking) A band shaped to fit the shoulders or the hips, and joined to the upper full edge of the waist or the skirt.
  17. The amount of land ploughed in a day by a pair of oxen.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gardner to this entry?)
  18. A portion of the working day.
    to work two yokes, i.e. to work both morning and afternoon
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)
  19. (informal, Ireland) A miscellaneous object; a gadget.
  20. (slang, Ireland) Pill of a psychoactive drug.
  21. Misspelling of yolk.
Derived terms[edit]


yoke ‎(third-person singular simple present yokes, present participle yoking, simple past and past participle yoked)

  1. To link or to join.
  2. To unite, to connect.
    • Bible, 2 Corinthians vi. 14
      Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers.
  3. To enslave; to bring into bondage; to restrain; to confine.
    • Milton
      Then were they yoked with garrisons.
    • Hudibras
      The words and promises that yoke / The conqueror are quickly broke.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]



  1. Misspelling of yolk.