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yank (v.)

"to pull, jerk," 1822, Scottish, of unknown origin. Related: Yanked; yanking. The noun is 1818 in sense of "sudden blow, cuff;" 1856 (American English) as "a sudden pull."

Yank (n.)

abbreviated form of Yankee, 1778.

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Definitions of yank from WordNet
1
yank (v.)
pull, or move with a sudden movement;
Synonyms: jerk
2
Yank (n.)
an American who lives in the North (especially during the American Civil War);
Synonyms: Yankee / Northerner
Yank (n.)
an American (especially to non-Americans);
Synonyms: Yankee / Yankee-Doodle
From wordnet.princeton.edu