One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verb[with object]Northern English, Scottish
1Strike sharply, especially with a stick or whip; thrash or flog.
beat, strike, hit, flog, thrash, lash, birch, whip, horsewhip, strap, leather, flagellate, scourgeView synonyms
- ‘More soundly could my scourge have yerked many.’
- ‘Nine, or ten times I had thought to have yerked him here under the ribs’
- ‘I'll yerk the sullen Devil out of you.’
- ‘Buy the birds, he was saying as he yerked me under the ribs.’
- ‘We should yerk the yokel of a Yankee with the knout.’
2Pull or push with a sudden movement.
- ‘Thou hast fair yarked me off my legs.’
- ‘He seized the parson by the chin and ears and yerked him upwards several times.’
- ‘They yerked to and fro, snorting with rage and terror.’
- ‘He saw him knocking and yarking the horse about and swearing at it.’
- ‘The rotten, rain-soaked khaki tears easily when two men are yerking at your collar.’
Late Middle English: imitative of a sudden movement.
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