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or red-neck

[red-nek] /ˈrɛdˌnɛk/ Informal: Disparaging.
an uneducated white farm laborer, especially from the South.
a bigot or reactionary, especially from the rural working class.
Also, red-necked. narrow, prejudiced, or reactionary:
a redneck attitude.
Origin of redneck
An Americanism dating back to 1820-30; red1 + neck
Usage note
All the senses of this term are used with disparaging intent, implying negative stereotypical traits such as ignorance and narrow-mindedness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for red-necked
Historical Examples
  • In April the red-necked Grebe returns to its accustomed inland summer haunts to breed.

    British Sea Birds Charles Dixon
  • You're identified forever with the red-necked aristocrats who smash five thousand dollar motors and throw them away.

    A Hoosier Chronicle Meredith Nicholson
  • Didn't yu feel az tho yu would like to help to pitch the red-necked and tobacco-chawing curse out ov the windo?

    Josh Billings on Ice

    Henry Wheeler Shaw
  • Two pompous, red-cheeked, red-necked individuals stepped forward, without so much as a "by-your-leave!"

    The Ghost Breaker Charles Goddard
  • The gray bark disease and anthracnose, also snowy tree cricket and red-necked cane borer, are controlled in this way.

  • A red-necked man, standing on a barrel, was making a speech to a big crowd gathered at one of the corners.

    The Clarion Samuel Hopkins Adams
  • Amongst them the ringdoves nested in hundreds, and on the steep rocks of the precipice the red-necked vultures fed their young.

    Benita, An African Romance H. Rider Haggard
  • We cannot well leave these fresh-water lochs without a passing glance at the red-necked Phalarope.

  • It was a strange eating-place, full of ditch-diggers, teamsters, red-necked politicians and slender intellectual politicians.

British Dictionary definitions for red-necked


noun (derogatory)
(in the southwestern US) a poor uneducated White farm worker
a person or institution that is extremely reactionary
reactionary and bigoted: redneck laws
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for red-necked



"cracker," attested 1830 in a specialized sense ("This may be ascribed to the Red Necks, a name bestowed upon the Presbyterians in Fayetteville" -- Ann Royall, "Southern Tour I," p.148), from red (adj.1) + neck (n.). According to various theories, red perhaps from anger, or from pellagra, but most likely from mule farmers' outdoors labor in the sun, wearing a shirt and straw hat, with the neck exposed. Cf. redshanks, old derogatory name for Scots Highlanders and Celtic Irish (1540s), from their going bare-legged.

It turns up again in an American context in 1904, again from Fayetteville, in a list of dialect words, meaning this time "an uncouth countryman" ["Dialect Notes," American Dialect Society, Vol. II, Part VI, 1904], but seems not to have been in widespread use in the U.S. before c.1915. In the meantime, it was used from c.1894 in South Africa (translating Dutch Roinek) as an insulting Boer name for "an Englishman."

Another common Boer name for an Englishman is "redneck," drawn from the fact that the back of an Englishman's neck is often burnt red by the sun. This does not happen to the Boer, who always wears a broad-brimmed hat. [James Bryce, "Impressions of South Africa," London, 1899]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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red-necked in Culture

redneck definition

A slang term, usually for a rural white southerner who is politically conservative, racist, and a religious fundamentalist (see fundamentalism). This term is generally considered offensive. It originated in reference to agricultural workers, alluding to how the back of a person's neck will be burned by the sun if he works long hours in the fields.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Slang definitions & phrases for red-necked



Angry; red-assed (1940s+)



: This is a redneck rural county


  1. bCRACKERc (1893+)
  2. A bigoted and conventional person; a loutish ultraconservative: Fred is a crude red-neck, and Carol is his latest bimbo (1975+)

[perhaps fr the characteristic ruddy neck of an angry person, and influenced by the image of a bigoted rural Southern white person; perhaps fr the fact that pellagra, a deficiency disease associated with poor Southern whites, produces a dermatitis that turns the neck red; first noun sense found by 1830 in a more specialized derogatory use, ''the Presbyterians in Fayetteville'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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