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  • I’d never heard of this word before I saw it here yesterday. Then, last night, I was watching the show Freaks & Geeks on DVD. In the episode “Tests and Breasts,” Daniel explains that he “ganked” his upcoming algebra test—i.e., stole it from the teacher’s office.

    Interesting note: the episode is set in Michigan in 1980, but was written and aired in 1999. I wonder if the slang is that old, or if that was an anachronistic bit of dialogue?

  • This term has popped up more and more frequently in online journals / blogs to refer to material stolen from other posters, or taken and modified from another original posting.  For example, if one blogger posts his answers to a set of five questions, another blogger might post his own answers to the same five questions and indicate that the list was “ganked” from the original poster.

  • I’ve also noticed this word used quite a bit in online gaming (esp. World of Warcraft) as meaning “to ambush” (usually with the result that you are killed). It also retains its meaning of “to steal” though.

  • We have used the word here for a long long time. grab + yank = gank meaning to steal. But nowadays, the younger generation have taken it to mean “gang kill” in online gaming.

  • I first heard it in 1988 on either an NWA album or an Eazy E album. The line I recall most clearly is from Eazy E’s “Still Talkin'” ,”bitch on a gank move to skeeze me just to say I got….. by Eazy”

Further reading

Strawberry Moon (episode #1522)

We asked for your thoughts about whether cursive writing should be taught in schools — and many of you replied with a resounding “Yes!” You said cursive helps develop fine motor skills, improves mental focus, and lets you read old...

Spill the Tea (episode #1521)

If someone urges you to spill the tea, they probably don’t want you tipping over a hot beverage. Originally, the tea here was the letter T, as in “truth.” To spill the T means to “pass along truthful information.” Plus...