NEC rules sometimes refer to "the yoke".

For example: 1999 NEC § 210-4(b):

Dwelling Units. In dwelling units, a multiwire branch circuit supplying more than one device or equipment on the same yoke shall be provided with a means to disconnect simultaneously all ungrounded conductors at the panelboard where the branch circuit originated.

What is meant by the term 'Yoke' as used in the NEC?

  • 2
    You should really be using the modern NEC when dealing with multi-wire branch circuits. Not least it requires common maintenance shutoff on every single MWBC regardless. It also requires pigtailing of neutrals. Feb 17, 2018 at 8:30

1 Answer 1


The 'Yoke' is the structural frame of a receptacle or switch: yoke

It is often metal, with holes for two captive mounting screws, and should almost certainly be grounded if a grounding conductor is present.


  • A light switch in a single-gang junction box has a single yoke.
  • Receptacles (in North America) are often manufactured in a pair of two outlets on a single 'yoke', which can be installed into one single-gang junction box.
  • I believe the yoke pictured is for a (normal, dual) NEMA 5-15 receptacle. It is "upside down" if you're used to receptacles being installed "like faces" in a home setting. Right side up if you install receptacles the "safer modern commercial" way. The two sets of contacts are what mate with the grounding pin on a nema 5-15 plug. That's some good connectivity between them and the ground screw isn't it? Aug 19, 2020 at 4:45

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