[ nek ]
See synonyms for: neckneckednecking on

  1. the part of the body of an animal or human being that connects the head and the trunk.

  2. the part of a garment encircling, partly covering, or closest to the neck; neckline.

  1. the length of the neck of a horse or other animal as a measure in racing.

  2. the slender part near the top of a bottle, vase, or similar object.

  3. any narrow, connecting, or projecting part suggesting the neck of an animal.

  4. a narrow strip of land, as an isthmus or a cape.

  5. a strait.

  6. the longer and more slender part of a violin or similar stringed instrument, extending from the body to the head.

  7. Building Trades, Machinery. the part on a shank of a bolt next to the head, especially when it has a special form.

  8. Anatomy. a narrowed part of a bone, organ, or the like.

  9. Dentistry. the slightly narrowed region of a tooth between the crown and the root.

  10. Printing. beard (def. 5).

  11. Architecture. a cylindrical continuation of the shaft of a column above the lower astragal of the capital, as in the Roman Doric and Tuscan orders.

  12. Also called volcanic neck. Geology. the solidified lava or igneous rock filling a conduit leading either to a vent of an extinct volcano or to a laccolith.

verb (used without object)
  1. Informal. (of two persons) to embrace, kiss, and caress one another amorously.

verb (used with object)
  1. Informal. to embrace, kiss, and caress (someone) amorously.

  2. to strangle or behead.

Idioms about neck

  1. be up to one's neck, Informal. to have a surfeit; be overburdened: Right now she's up to her neck in work.

  2. break one's neck, Informal. to make a great effort: We broke our necks to get there on time.

  1. get it in the neck, Slang.

    • to suffer punishment or loss: The trend is to consolidation and small businesses are getting it in the neck.

    • to be rejected or dismissed: The employees got it in the neck when the company moved overseas.

    • to be sharply reprimanded or scolded.

  2. neck and neck, even or very close; indeterminate as to the outcome: They were coming toward the finish line neck and neck.

  3. neck of the woods, Informal. neighborhood, area, or vicinity: Next time you're in this neck of the woods, drop in.

  4. stick one's neck out, Informal. to expose oneself to danger, disaster, failure, disgrace, etc.; take a risk: He stuck his neck out by supporting an unpopular candidate.

  5. win by a neck,

    • to win by a small amount or narrow margin.

    • Racing. to be first by a head and neck; finish closely.

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

Other words from neck

  • necker, noun
  • neckless, adjective
  • necklike, adjective

Words Nearby neck Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use neck in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for neck


/ (nɛk) /

  1. the part of an organism connecting the head with the rest of the body: Related adjectives: cervical, jugular

  2. the part of a garment around or nearest the neck

  1. something resembling a neck in shape or position: the neck of a bottle

  2. anatomy a constricted portion of an organ or part, such as the cervix of the uterus

  3. a narrow or elongated projecting strip of land; a peninsula or isthmus

  4. a strait or channel

  5. the part of a violin, cello, etc, that extends from the body to the tuning pegs and supports the fingerboard

  6. a solid block of lava from the opening of an extinct volcano, exposed after erosion of the surrounding rock

  7. botany the upper, usually tubular, part of the archegonium of mosses, ferns, etc

  8. the length of a horse's head and neck taken as an approximate distance by which one horse beats another in a race: to win by a neck

  9. informal a short distance, amount, or margin: he is always a neck ahead in new techniques

  10. informal impudence; audacity: he had the neck to ask for a rise

  11. 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

  12. another name for beard, on printer's type

  13. break one's neck informal to exert oneself greatly, esp by hurrying, in order to do something

  14. by the neck Irish and Scot slang (of a bottle of beer) served unpoured: give me two bottles of stout by the neck

  15. get it in the neck informal to be reprimanded or punished severely

  16. neck and neck absolutely level or even in a race or competition

  17. neck of the woods informal an area or locality: a quiet neck of the woods

  18. risk one's neck to take a great risk

  19. informal

    • save one's neck to escape from a difficult or dangerous situation

    • save someone's neck to help someone else escape from such a situation

  20. stick one's neck out informal to risk criticism, ridicule, failure, etc, by speaking one's mind

  21. up to one's neck in deeply involved in: he's up to his neck in dodgy dealings

  1. (intr) informal to kiss, embrace, or fondle someone or one another passionately

  2. (tr) British informal to swallow (something, esp a drink): he's been necking pints all night

Origin of neck

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

Derived forms of neck

  • necker, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with 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.