English Dictionary

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yoke (jəʊk



Word forms:   plural yokes or yoke
  1. a wooden frame, usually consisting of a bar with an oxbow or similar collar-like piece at either end, for attaching to the necks of a pair of draught animals, esp oxen, so that they can be worked as a team
  2. something resembling a yoke in form or function, such as a frame fitting over a person's shoulders for carrying buckets suspended at either end
  3. a fitted part of a garment, esp around the neck, shoulders, and chest or around the hips, to which a gathered, pleated, flared, or unfitted part is attached
  4. an immense oppressive force or burden   ⇒  ■ under the yoke of a tyrant
  5. a pair of oxen or other draught animals joined together by a yoke
  6. a part, esp one of relatively thick cross section, that secures two or more components so that they move together
  7. a crosshead that transmits the drive of an opposed piston engine from the upper of a pair of linked pistons to the crankshaft through a connecting rod
  8. a steel framework around the formwork during the casting of concrete
  9. (nautical) a crossbar fixed athwartships to the head of a rudderpost in a small boat, to which are attached ropes or cables for steering
  10. a Y-shaped cable, rope, or chain, used for holding, towing, etc
  11. (in the ancient world) a symbolic reconstruction of a yoke, consisting of two upright spears with a third lashed across them, under which conquered enemies were compelled to march, esp in Rome
  12. a mark, token, or symbol of slavery, subjection, or suffering
  13. (rare) a link, tie, or bond   ⇒  ■ the yoke of love
  14. (British, dialect) a period of steady work, esp the time during which a ploughman and his team work at a stretch
  15. (Irish) any device, unusual object, or gadget   ⇒  ■ where's the yoke for opening tins?



  1. (transitive) to secure or harness (a draught animal) to (a plough, vehicle, etc) by means of a yoke
  2. to join or be joined by means of a yoke; couple, unite, or link
  3. (transitive) (obsolete) to oppress, burden, or enslave

Derived Forms

ˈyokeless  adjective

Word Origin

Old English geoc; related to Old High German ioh, Old Norse ok, Gothic juk, Latin iugum, Sanskrit yugam


View thesaurus entry
= harness, coupling, tackle, chain, collar, tack, link, tie
= harness, join, couple, link, tie, connect, bracket, hitch, inspan (South Africa)

Example Sentences Including 'yoke'

The responsibilities which Richard Rose wore like a summer suit hung off Sutherland's shoulders like a yoke of full pails.
It weighs me down like an unforgiving yoke , pulverising my spirit.
Alex George LOVE YOU MADLY (2002)
What madness it was to try to chain a mere child of eighteen, to yoke her into being a dynastic breeder.
Appiganesi, Lisa Dreams of Innocence


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