from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To pull with a quick, strong movement; jerk: yanked the emergency cord.
  • transitive v. Slang To extract or remove abruptly: yanked the starting pitcher early in the game.
  • intransitive v. To pull on something suddenly. See Synonyms at jerk1.
  • n. A sudden vigorous pull; a jerk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sudden, vigorous pull (sometimes defined as mass times jerk, or rate of change of force).
  • v. To pull something with a quick, strong action.
  • v. to remove from circulation

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A jerk or twitch.
  • n. An abbreviation of Yankee.
  • transitive v. To twitch; to jerk.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To be in active motion; move or work quickly; bustle.
  • To talk fast or constantly; scold; nag.
  • To move, carry, bring, take, etc., with a sudden jerk or jerking motion: usually with along, over, or out: as, to yank a fish out of the water.
  • n. A quick, sharp stroke; a buffet.
  • n. A jerk or twitch.
  • n. plural Leggings or long gaiters worn in England by agricultural laborers.
  • n. A Yankee.
  • n. [The word acquired during the war of the rebellion wide currency as a nickname or contemptuous epithet among the Confederates for a Union soldier, the Confederates themselves being in like spirit dubbed Johnnies or Rebs by the Union soldiers.]

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pull, or move with a sudden movement
  • n. an American who lives in the North (especially during the American Civil War)
  • n. an American (especially to non-Americans)


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Attested since 1822 CE; from Scots. Unknown origin. (Wiktionary)



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