Yoke and Yolk

egg yolk
(Andrew Unangst/Getty Images)

The words yoke and yolk are homophones (or near-homophones): words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Definitions

The noun yoke refers to bondage, servitude, or something that binds or connects (people, animals, ideas, or things). As a verb, yoke means to join together.

The noun yolk refers to the yellow part of an egg.

Examples

  • During the 1960s, many territories in Africa and Asia emerged as new nations, freed from the yoke of colonialism.
  • Priam told his sons to yoke the mules to the wagon, while he went to the chamber paneled with fragrant cedar-wood.
  • "Joseph watched as bright yellow yolk dripped off the vibrant-pink processed meat product onto Wilson's T-shirt."(Mark Haskell Smith, Delicious. Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005)
  • "From the two gritty windows a listless whitish light fell upon the stained green wallpaper with its yolk-colored floral design."(Fred Chappell, Moments of Light. Boson, 1996)

Practice

  • (a) "[T]he lead boys ran to _____ the oxen in pairs and bring them in from the veld where they had been grazing."
    (Wilbur Smith, Blue Horizon. St. Martin's Press, 2003)
  • (b) The _____ contains most of the known vitamins, with the exception of vitamin C.
  • (c) Dame Gillian Beer urged women writers to free themselves from the _____ of romantic obsession.

Answers to Practice Questions

  • (a) "[T]he lead boys ran to yoke the oxen in pairs and bring them in from the veld where they had been grazing."
    (Wilbur Smith, Blue Horizon. St. Martin's Press, 2003)
  • (b) The yolk contains most of the known vitamins, with the exception of vitamin C.
  • (c) Dame Gillian Beer urged women writers to free themselves from the yoke of romantic obsession.