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[ruhb-er-nek] /ˈrʌb ərˌnɛk/ Informal.
verb (used without object)
to look about or stare with great curiosity, as by craning the neck or turning the head.
verb (used with object)
to gawk at:
The tieup was due to drivers rubbernecking an accident.
noun, Also, rubbernecker
a sightseer; tourist.
an extremely curious person.
Origin of rubberneck
An Americanism dating back to 1895-1900; rubber1 + neck Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for rubberneck
Historical Examples
  • The rubberneck coach lingered, out of respect for its patrons.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • The paid guides and the "rubberneck wagons" have completed the ruin.

  • Women ought to have everything they own fastened to them with rubberneck elastics.

    The Climbers Clyde Fitch
  • The most popular slang expression of the day is "to rubberneck," or, more concisely, "to rubber."

  • Drivers of passing cars slowed down to rubberneck, and a few shouted filthy, vengeful things at them.


    Cory Doctorow
  • No, I think Ill take those few days off and do a rubberneck trip around Manhattan.

    Out of the Air Inez Haynes Irwin
  • A detective saw you on the rubberneck up at Central Park and 'phoned down to take you in.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • And now in the broad, quiet avenue in front of the rubberneck car a man in dark clothes stood with uplifted hand.

    The Four Million

    O. Henry
  • To show general scorn, the bird revolved on one claw round and round his swing; he looked dangerous, repeating, "rubberneck."

British Dictionary definitions for rubberneck


a person who stares or gapes inquisitively, esp in a naive or foolish manner
a sightseer or tourist
(intransitive) to stare in a naive or foolish manner
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 rubberneck

1897, "person who is always listening to other people's conversation; person who gazes around him with undue curiosity," from rubber + neck (n.). Popularized with reference to sightseers in automobiles. As a verb from 1896. Related: Rubbernecking (1896); rubbernecker (1934).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for rubberneck



(also rubbernecker) A person who stares and gapes; gawking spectator: The courtroom was full of rubbernecks/ These were rubberneckers, staring curiously at a bloody accident (1896+)


: They all slowed down and rubbernecked at the wreck

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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