I need to translate a German sentence to English: "Instinktiv riss er den Eimer hoch, um seinen Kopf zu schützen." ("He instinctively ??? the bucket to protect his head.").
"hochreissen" (also: "hochreißen" with "sz", 3rd Pers. Sg. Impf: "er riss/riß hoch") means to perform a sudden movement upwards. In the context of the newspaper article, from which my example is taken, the guy was working in his garden when somebody threw stones at him. Before he consciously realised what was happening, he had already lifted the bucket he was holding up in front of his head.
The movement is best characterised as:
- upwards (not necessarily all the way from the ground but definitely from below its eventual position)
- unconscious (you didn't intend to do it, it was instinct)
- sudden and abrupt (it interrupts idleness or another activity)
- fast and unaimed (performed "before you realise what you're doing")
- the upward movement covers a considerable distance (e.g. rather 50cm than 5cm)
- very often but not necessarily: a protective movement (e.g.: something is hurled at you and you want to protect your eyes)
The most recent dictionary I checked (online) suggested "yank up". Further research, however, revealed that it is rather a slang term with very little connection to the kind of movement I mean to express.
An older printed dictionary suggested simply "pull up". From my feeling I'd say that this lacks the momentum of "unintentional" and "instinctively" but I may very well be wrong.
The same dictionary also listed "hoick" (spelling variant "hoik") which is completely unknown to me and scanning the net I found no references which would fit my example.
What word would a native speaker use to describe such a movement?