Posted by R. Berg on October 24, 2002
In Reply to: "Jerking my Chain" posted by Ed Stansell on October 24, 2002
: : : Surely it has
the same origin as the
: : : British "Pulling my chain", from lavatorial
: : : origins. Is yanking the same as jerking anyway?
: : Depends on what your doing. :) But very similar, yes. Perhaps Yanking is an Americanization (Yankees).
I've alway heard that this phrase came from jerking a dog's chain which is very
disturbing to the dog. Jerking someone's chain is doing something to purposely
upset them. I don't see what plumbing has to do with it.
"yank" and "jerk" have approximately the same meaning.
Paulus: The origin of "yank" is unknown; the origin of "Yankee" is uncertain, although hypotheses exist (Oxford Engl. Dict.). The two words are probably not related. The OED labels "yank" "dial. and U.S."
ES: Plumbing has nothing to do with it except that a lavatory chain and a dog's chain can both be pulled.