verb (used without object)

Informal. (of two persons) to embrace, kiss, and caress one another amorously.

verb (used with object)

Informal. to embrace, kiss, and caress (someone) amorously.
to strangle or behead.

Nearby words

  1. necessity,
  2. necessity is the mother of invention,
  3. nechako,
  4. neches,
  5. necho,
  6. neck and neck,
  7. neck cord,
  8. neck of the woods,
  9. neck sweetbread,
  10. neck-rein


Origin of neck

before 900; Middle English nekke, Old English hnecca, cognate with Dutch nek nape of neck; akin to German Nacken, Old Norse hnakki nape of neck

Related formsneck·er, nounneck·less, adjectiveneck·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for be up to one's neck



the part of an organism connecting the head with the rest of the bodyRelated adjectives: cervical, jugular
the part of a garment around or nearest the neck
something resembling a neck in shape or positionthe neck of a bottle
anatomy a constricted portion of an organ or part, such as the cervix of the uterus
a narrow or elongated projecting strip of land; a peninsula or isthmus
a strait or channel
the part of a violin, cello, etc, that extends from the body to the tuning pegs and supports the fingerboard
a solid block of lava from the opening of an extinct volcano, exposed after erosion of the surrounding rock
botany the upper, usually tubular, part of the archegonium of mosses, ferns, etc
the length of a horse's head and neck taken as an approximate distance by which one horse beats another in a raceto win by a neck
informal a short distance, amount, or marginhe is always a neck ahead in new techniques
informal impudence; audacityhe had the neck to ask for a rise
architect the narrow band at the top of the shaft of a column between the necking and the capital, esp as used in the Tuscan order
another name for beard, on printer's type
break one's neck informal to exert oneself greatly, esp by hurrying, in order to do something
by the neck Irish and Scot slang (of a bottle of beer) served unpouredgive me two bottles of stout by the neck
get it in the neck informal to be reprimanded or punished severely
neck and neck absolutely level or even in a race or competition
neck of the woods informal an area or localitya quiet neck of the woods
risk one's neck to take a great risk
  1. save one's neckto escape from a difficult or dangerous situation
  2. save someone's neckto help someone else escape from such a situation
stick one's neck out informal to risk criticism, ridicule, failure, etc, by speaking one's mind
up to one's neck in deeply involved inhe's up to his neck in dodgy dealings


(intr) informal to kiss, embrace, or fondle someone or one another passionately
(tr) British informal to swallow (something, esp a drink)he's been necking pints all night
Derived Formsnecker, noun

Word Origin for neck

Old English hnecca; related to Old High German hnack, Old Irish cnocc hill

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

Word Origin and History for be up to one's neck
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for be up to one's neck




The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders or trunk.
A narrow or constricted part of a structure, as of a bone or organ, that joins its parts; a cervix.
The part of a tooth between the crown and the root.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Idioms and Phrases with be up to one's neck


In addition to the idioms beginning with neck

  • neck and neck
  • neck of the woods

also see:

  • albatross around one's neck
  • break one's back (neck)
  • breathe down someone's neck
  • dead from the neck up
  • millstone around one's neck
  • pain in the neck
  • risk life and limb (one's neck)
  • save someone's bacon (neck)
  • stick one's neck out
  • up to one's ears (neck)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.