To yank is to pull or move suddenly and sharply. You might reach for a pan on the stove and then yank your hand away when you realize the handle is hot.

Your little sister might yank at your arm to get your attention, while a bully might yank your hair just to be mean. In both cases, they're tugging abruptly, and you can call the pull itself a yank. Don't confuse this noun with the yank that serves as a slightly offensive nickname for Americans, or even more specifically, for New Englanders. Dutch settlers in then New Amsterdam first used this word to insult English colonists in Connecticut.

Definitions of yank

v pull, or move with a sudden movement

Type of:
draw, force, pull
cause to move by pulling

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.