verb (used with object), verb (used without object)
to pull or remove abruptly and vigorously: Yank down on the bell rope. He was yanked out of school.
an abrupt, vigorous pull; jerk.

1810–20; origin uncertain

1. pluck, tug, tear.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
yank (jæŋk)
1.  to pull, jerk, or move with a sharp movement; tug
2.  a sharp jerking movement; tug
[C19: of unknown origin]

Yank (jæŋk)
1.  a slang word for an American
2.  informal (US) short for Yankee

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1822, Scottish, of unknown origin; the noun is 1818 in sense of "sudden blow, cuff."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
They had all moved, yanked to and fro and up and down.
We spent the night lakeside, testing ten more gators that had been freshly
  yanked from the water.
He yanked his fingers back and apologized profusely.
And there is always the danger that statistics about scientists could be yanked
  out of context in political debates.
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