Green’s Dictionary of Slang

yank v.1

[ety. unknown]
(orig. US)

1. [mid-19C+] to drag, to pull.

2. [late 19C+] to arrest.

3. [1900s] (US) to victimize, to harass, to dupe; thus yanking n.

4. [1910s+] to masturbate; usu. in phrs. below; thus yanking n.

5. [1940s+] to remove.

6. [1990s+] (US campus, also yoink) to steal.

In phrases

yank down (v.) [var. on pull down v. (3)]

[late 19C–1900s] to earn, to win money; thus yank-down n., a profit, a commission .

yank off (v.)

[1910s+] to masturbate.

yank one’s/someone’s/the crank (v.) [crank n.3 (1)]

[1970s+] (US) to masturbate.

yank one’s meat (v.) [meat n. (2)]

[1970s+] to masturbate.

yank someone’s chain (v.) (also yank someone’s crank)

[1960s+] to irritate someone, to annoy someone, to remind or distract someone forcibly.

yank up (v.)

[1930s+] to bring up or educate a child roughly, without controls, manners or discipline.