verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
- 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.
- to win by a small amount or narrow margin.
- Racing.to be first by a head and neck; finish closely.
Origin of neck
Related Words for stick one's neck outoperate, dare, threaten, expose, imperil, menace, speculate, wager, bet, essay, jeopardize, feel, brave, stake, experiment, defy, gamble, assay, risk, hazard
- save one's neckto escape from a difficult or dangerous situation
- save someone's neckto help someone else escape from such a situation
Word Origin for neck
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.
stick one's neck out
Make oneself vulnerable, take a risk, as in I'm going to stick my neck out and ask for a raise. This expression probably alludes to a chicken extending its neck before being slaughtered. [Colloquial; early 1900s]
In addition to the idioms beginning with neck
- neck and neck
- neck of the woods
- 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)