English contains many words that sound the same but have different meanings. These words are called homophones. While yoke and yolk are not exact homophones, they may sound similar enough in casual speech to confuse language learners or even experienced writers.
In this article, we will compare yoke and yolk and will use each word in various example sentences to illustrate its use. Plus, we will also show you a useful trick for deciding whether to use yoke or yolk in your writing.
Yolk originated from Old English geol(o)ca, from geolu ‘yellow’. Yoke originated from Old English geoc (noun), geocian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch juk, German Joch, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin jugum and Greek zugon, also by Latin jungere ‘to join’.
Yolk as noun:
This recipe calls for two egg yolks.
Yoke as noun:
Yoke as verb:
Eager to throw off the yoke of government ownership, the U.K.’s two partially state-owned banks have been quietly moving to stir investor interest in U.K government holdings of their stocks. [Wall Street Journal]
Yolk or yoke:
Yoke and yolk are not quite homophones, but many people pronounce them similarly. Nonetheless, they have separate meanings and their usage cases never overlap. Yoke deals with the joining together of two things. Yolk is the center of an egg. If the word in your sentence is a verb, it must be yoke. Yolk is never a verb. If the word is a noun, then you should consider your context. If you’re talking about the yellow center of an egg, you mean yolk. Remember that this part of the egg contains a high amount of cholesterol. Cholesterol and yolk both contain the letter L.