a. A contoured crossbar having two U-shaped attachments that fit around the necks of a team of oxen or other draft animals, with a central ring for hitching the team to a cart, plow, or other load.
b. pl. yoke or yokes A pair of draft animals, such as oxen, joined by a yoke.
c. A bar used with a double harness to connect the collar of each horse to the pole of a wagon or coach.
2. A frame designed to be carried across a person's shoulders with equal loads suspended from each end.
3. Nautical A crossbar on a ship's rudder to which the steering cables are connected.
4. A clamp or vise that holds a machine part in place or controls its movement or that holds two such parts together.
5. A piece of a garment that is closely fitted, either around the neck and shoulders or at the hips, and from which an unfitted or gathered part of the garment is hung.
6. Something that connects or joins together; a bond or tie.
7. Electronics A series of two or more magnetic recording heads fastened securely together for playing or recording on more than one track simultaneously.
a. Any of various emblems of subjugation, such as a structure made of two upright spears with a third laid across them, under which conquered enemies of ancient Rome were forced to march in subjection.
b. The condition of being subjugated by or as if by a conqueror; subjugation or bondage: 14th-century Russia under the Tatar yoke; the yoke of drug addiction.
v. yoked, yok·ing, yokes
1. To fit or join with a yoke.
a. To harness a draft animal to.
b. To harness (a draft animal) to a vehicle or an implement.
3. To join together; bind: partners who were yoked together for life.
4. To force into heavy labor, bondage, or subjugation.
To become joined.
[Middle English, from Old English geoc; see yeug- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.