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Commonly Confused Words: Yolk vs. Yoke


Happy Easter! This week we have a themed post for our Commonly Confused Words series.

Make sure you don’t say egg yoke when you mean egg yolk!

What does each word mean?

The yolk is the yellow spherical part of an egg. It is surrounded by albumen which is white.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is yolk used in some example sentences:

  • Whenever he tried to fry eggs he always ended up accidentally breaking the yolk.
  • I like soft-boiled eggs so I can dip my toast into the runny yolk.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word yolk.

A yoke is a wooden restraint used to join two draft animals at the neck so they can work together. The word is also used metaphorically to refer to something that is oppressive. As a verb, yoke describes to the act of joining things together.

Click here for the full Spellzone dictionary definition of the word.

Here is yoke used in some example sentences:

  • The bullocks pulled against the yoke.
  • We fought against the yoke of tyranny.
  • They yoked the horses and put them to work.

Click here to find the Spellzone vocabulary lists related to the word yoke.

Where does each word come from?

Yolk comes from the Old English ‘geolca, geoloca’ which means ‘the yellow part’ and in turn comes from ‘geolu’ which means ‘yellow’. The word used to be spelt ‘yelk’.

Yoke comes from the Old English ‘geocian’ meaning ‘to join together’. This comes from ‘geoht’ which means ‘contrivance for fastening a pair of draft animals together’ and comes from the Proto-Germanic ‘yukam’.

Are there any tricks to help remember the difference between yolk and yoke?

Think of a hen laying an egg to help you remember yolk has an l in it.

Say the following sentence to yourself: ‘The horses broke free from their yoke’.

Where can I find other posts about easy-to-confuse words?

Sources: The Online Etymology Dictionary.


29 Mar 2018
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