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.


    be up to one's neck, Informal. to have a surfeit; be overburdened: Right now she's up to her neck in work.
    break one's neck, Informal. to make a great effort: We broke our necks to get there on time.
    get it in the neck, Slang.
    1. to suffer punishment or loss: The trend is to consolidation and small businesses are getting it in the neck.
    2. to be rejected or dismissed: The employees got it in the neck when the company moved overseas.
    3. to be sharply reprimanded or scolded.
    neck and neck, even or very close; indeterminate as to the outcome: They were coming toward the finish line neck and neck.
    neck of the woods, Informal. neighborhood, area, or vicinity: Next time you're in this neck of the woods, drop in.
    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.
    win by a neck,
    1. to win by a small amount or narrow margin.
    2. 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
Related formsneck·er, nounneck·less, adjectiveneck·like, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for neckless

Historical Examples of neckless

  • In a community of waist less, neckless women she was as slender as a young tree, and held her head like a swan.

    The Huntress

    Hulbert Footner

  • The Hoobat moved, rearing up on the tips of its six legs, its neckless head slowly revolving on its puffy shoulders.

    Plague Ship

    Andre Norton

  • Taller than Hume, but hunched forward in its neckless outline, the thing was a monster.

    Star Hunter

    Andre Alice Norton

British Dictionary definitions for neckless



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 neckless

c.1600, from neck (n.) + -less.



Old English hnecca "neck, nape, back of the neck" (a fairly rare word) from Proto-Germanic *khnekkon "the nape of the neck" (cf. Old Frisian hnekka, Middle Dutch necke, Dutch nek, Old Norse hnakkr, Old High German hnach, German Nacken "neck"), with no certain cognates outside Germanic, though Klein's sources suggest PIE *knok- "high point, ridge" (cf. Old Irish cnocc, Welsh cnwch, Old Breton cnoch "hill").

The more usual Old English words were hals (the general Germanic word, cf. Gothic, Old Norse, Danish, Swedish, Dutch, German hals), cognate with Latin collum (see collar (n.)); and swira, probably also from a PIE root meaning "column" (cf. Sanskrit svaru- "post").

Transferred senses attested from c.1400. Phrase neck of the woods (American English) is attested from 1780 in the sense of "narrow stretch of woods;" 1839 with meaning "settlement in a wooded region." To stick one's neck out "take a risk" is first recorded 1919, American English. Horses running neck and neck is attested from 1799.



"to kiss, embrace, caress," 1825 (implied in necking) in northern England dialect, from neck (n.). Cf. Middle English halsen "to embrace or caress affectionately, to fondle sexually," from hals (n.) "neck." Earlier, neck as a verb meant "to kill by a strike on the neck" (mid-15c.). Related: Necked.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

neckless in Medicine




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 neckless


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.