English Dictionary

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yoke (jəʊk Pronunciation for yoke



Word forms:   plural yokes, 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

Example Sentences Including 'yoke'

However, casting off the yoke of uncertainty, it was the professionals who played the more liberated cricket to win by a distance.
Times, Sunday Times (2004)
I've noticed that I've been off egg yoke , in its various forms, for some time recently.
Times, Sunday Times (2002)
If the yoke is pushed forward slightly, the bag deflates a little, and re-inflates when the yoke is pulled back.
New Scientist (1999)
In the Upper House former Lord Lieutenant Lord Londonderry justified Unionists in shedding blood `to resist the disloyal Catholic yoke '.
Frank Welsh THE FOUR NATIONS: A History of the United Kingdom (2002)
It weighs me down like an unforgiving yoke , pulverising my spirit.
Alex George LOVE YOU MADLY (2002)
Some Muslims thought the volcanic eruptions were "astral messages" from Allah, urging the Javanese to throw off the yoke of colonialism.
Globe and Mail (2003)
The Messiah would throw off the yoke of the Roman Empire and Israel would triumph.
Misc (1998)
The responsibilities which Richard Rose wore like a summer suit hung off Sutherland's shoulders like a yoke of full pails.
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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