Green’s Dictionary of Slang

yank v.1

[ety. unknown]
(orig. US)

1. to drag, to pull.

[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms.
[UK]K. Marx despatch to Neue Oder-Zeitung 9 Feb. in Wheen Karl Marx (1999) n.p.: The constabulary [...] began to beat up people’s heads until the blood ran profusely, yanked individuals here and there out of the vast multitude [...] and dragged them to the improvised blockhouses.
A Visit to Nantucket in Schele De Vere (1872) 649: He yanked and yanked, but the sapling wouldn’t come, and thar he was caught in his own trap.
[UK]Besant & Rice Golden Butterfly III 209: Get John, and yank them both to bed.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 16 Oct. 9/3: All the other clerks [...] ‘yank’ him half-way home.
[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 199: Mr. Bull just yanked out a gun as long as your arm.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘A Day on a Selection’ in Roderick (1972) 43: The youngster cautiously takes hold of the least sore teat [and] yanks it suddenly.
[UK]Magnet 29 Feb. 2: He doesn’t want to yank him off by the ears!
[US]Firefly 9 Dec. 1: Last week I had all the furniture yanked out of my flat.
[Ire]Joyce Ulysses 406: Alexander J. Christ Dowie, that’s yanked to glory most half this planet from Frisco Beach to Vladivostock.
[US]H. Roth Call It Sleep (1977) 148: She yanked David towards their landmark.
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 6: The cop yanked his .38 out.
[US]R. Prather Always Leave ’Em Dying 103: I had to start shaking his follower’s faith in his magnificence, had to yank off the halo that Trammelites thought their master wore.
[US]H. Selby Jr Last Exit to Brooklyn (1966) 19: Harry asked her if she wanted him to yank the knife out.
[US](con. 1960s) R. Price Wanderers 58: Yanking the bag over his shoulder he tramped into the dinette.
[UK]P. Theroux London Embassy 83: I thought he was going to yank his ear off.
[UK]Guardian 24 July 27: The latecomer would be yanked aboard by fellow passengers.
[UK]M. Amis Experience 362: Todd Berman had just yanked out a molar in my underjaw.
[US]D.H. Sterry Chicken (2003) 9: I try to yank away, but I can’t move.
[US]Rolling Stone 14 Oct. [Internet] They were free to yank support from Trump if they thought it would help them win in November.

2. to arrest.

[US]J. Flynt Tramping with Tramps 280: The bulls around here don’t care to yank a tramp unless they have to.
[US]L. Stringer Grand Central Winter (1999) 120: The cops at Port Authority yanked him.
[UK]T. Black Gutted 30: Facing a ten-stretch for counterfeiting [...] Ralph Lauren shirts. He was yanked with a warehouse full of them.

3. (US) to victimize, to harass, to dupe; thus yanking n.

[US]‘O. Henry’ ‘The Ethics of Pig’ in Gentle Grafter (1915) 228: I had been counting on yanking the yeomen for two hundred at least.
[US]O.O. McIntyre White Light Nights 8: The crudest sort of ‘yokel yanking’ in New York is done by the itinerant fur salesmen. [...] They palm off five-dollar furs for thirty dollars.

4. to masturbate; usu. in phrs. below; thus yanking n.

[Aus]‘The Four Wives’ in Mess Songs & Rhymes of the RAAF 26: Old airmen never die, / They yank themselves away.
[US]San Diego Sailor 8: It finally got so I’d have to yank every so often to get rid of my load.
[US]L. Kramer Faggots 96: [He] yanked his full-grown penis to a gigantically pleasurable orgasm.
[Ire]F. Mac Anna Cartoon City 41: Just kissing and a spot of groping, followed by some yanking and a bit of caressing.

5. to remove.

[US]B. Schulberg What Makes Sammy Run? (1992) 92: If they yanked his favorite scene they could take his name off the picture.
[US]E. Hunter ‘The Beatings’ in Jungle Kids (1967) 135: I thought your license had been yanked.
[UK](con. WWII) G. Sire Deathmakers 197: No shit, Captain, don’t you think you could yank her ass out of my tank?
[US]C. Hiaasen Tourist Season (1987) 27: If I’d been here that morning, I’d have yanked that column.

6. (US campus, also yoink) to steal.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Apr. 4: gank – steal [...] Also yank.
[US]Hope College ‘Dict. of New Terms’ [Internet] yoink v. tr. To take something from someone else, or from someone else’s territory.
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 4: GANK – steal something; borrow temporarily [...] Also YANK, YOINK.

In phrases

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

to earn, to win money; thus yank-down n., a profit, a commission .

[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 83: I’d yanked down $2,000 on Long Bridge’s win. [Ibid.] 388: My yank-down was eighty dollars.
[US]C.L. Cullen More Ex-Tank Tales 130: A little yank-down I made out in Illinois.
yank off (v.)

to masturbate.

[US] Transcript Foster Inq. in L.R. Murphy Perverts by Official Order (1989) 54: I might have what they call, yanked someone off . . .
[Ire]Linehan & Mathews Speed3 (penultimate draft) in Father Ted (1999) 292/2: I’m having to yank meself off round the clock ’cause I’m not getting any proper sex with girls [OED].
[NZ]Number One Adult Sexual Health Terms Advisor [Internet] Masturbation Slang Male Terms: [...] yank off or yank the crank/plank/yoyo.
yank one’s/someone’s/the crank (v.) [crank n.3 (1)]

(US) to masturbate.

[US]T. Bozzio in Zappa ‘Punky’s Whips’ [lyrics] Why, maybe he’d like to yank my crank? / YANK IT PUNKY! YANK IT FASTER! / YANK IT HARDER!
[US]Bentley & Corbett Prison Sl. 63: Yankin’ the Crank Masturbation. (Archaic: snap the whip).
yank one’s meat (v.) [meat n. (2)]

to masturbate.

[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 76: It was all he could do to get himself soaped up [...] without reaching down to yank his meat.
yank someone’s chain (v.) (also yank someone’s crank)

to irritate someone, to annoy someone, to remind or distract someone forcibly.

[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 41: ‘Are you yankin’ my chain?’ she snapped.
[US]S. King Dreamcatcher 583: Continue to yank my crank, soldier, and I will put a bullet in you.
[Ire]P. Howard Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightdress 27: Don’t focking yank my chain, dude.
yank up (v.)

to bring up or educate a child roughly, without controls, manners or discipline.

[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 20: I was yanked up the same way.