• synonyms


[neyp, nap]
See more synonyms for nape on Thesaurus.com
  1. the back of the neck (usually used in the phrase nape of the neck).
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Origin of nape

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for napes

Historical Examples

  • On this side of Gable is the fine detached rock, Napes Needle.

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 16, Slice 1


  • O that you could turn your eyes toward the napes of your necks, and make but an interior survey of your good selves!

  • Most of the stevedores were hatless, and Chris snickered at the sight of the short braid of hair at the napes of their necks.

    Mr. Wicker's Window

    Carley Dawson

  • The men threw back their black silk hats, the flowers in the women's bonnets glided to the napes of their necks.

    His Masterpiece

    Emile Zola

British Dictionary definitions for napes


  1. the back of the neckRelated adjective: nuchal
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Word Origin

C13: of unknown origin


  1. (tr) US military slang to attack with napalm
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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 napes



"back of the neck," c.1300, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old French hanap "a goblet," in reference to the hollow at the base of the skull. "The entire absence of forms with initial k makes it difficult to connect the word with the apparently synonymous OFris (hals) knap [OED].

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

napes in Medicine


(nāp, năp)
  1. The back of the neck.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.