Killing and yanking more or less correspond to what is usually called "cutting" and "pasting".
killing means deleting text, and copying it to the kill-ring (which could be seen as a sort of "clipboard" in the "cut & paste" terminology). The kill ring is so named because it stores several pieces of killed text, which can later be accessed in cyclic order.
Various commands exist that kill one word (M-d), the rest of the line (C-k), or larger text blocks (such as the currently selected region: C-w).
Other commands exist, that save text to the kill ring, without actually killing it (in a similar way to "copying" in modern terminologies). For example, M-w, which acts on the currently selected region.
Entries in the kill ring can later be yanked back into a buffer. One can typically yank the most recently killed text using e.g C-y (which is similar to the "paste" operation in a more modern terminology). But other commands can access and yank older entries from the kill ring.