1. (UK und.) a farthing.
|Life and Glorious Actions of [...] Jonathan Wilde 26: In the Thieves Language, a Farthing is called a Neck or Nubb.|
2. the throat [note neck v. (1)].
|A Webfoot Volunteer (1965) 153: The [officers] [...] poured a number of draught [sic] of rotten whiskey down their officious necks.in|
|Wolfville 177: He pours a drink into his neck.|
|Semi-Tough 38: He had put a whole pile of gin down his neck.|
|Chili 11: Dice game percolatin’ to the left rear, slick talk popping out of everybody’s neck.|
3. in fig. senses [orig. northern dial.; note also brass neck n.].
(a) (also hard neck) audacity, daring; impudence.
|Northumberland Words II 494: Neck, forwardness, impudence. ‘What a neck ye hev efter aa’!’ .|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 24 Aug. 11/3: 1st luggage porter: ‘Blime, Joe! I ain’t touched a tray-bit ter-day. Wot ’ave you done?’ Joe: ‘Nixey.’ [...] 1st porter: ‘---! Joe, a job at laast! Surely this old cow won’t ’ave the blanky neck to wanter carry it ’erself!’.|
|Naval Occasions 186: Wot ? ... Me-kiss–-yu! [...] Mai dear laife ! Yu ain’t ’arf got no neck!‘A One-Gun Salute’ in|
|Aussie (France) VIII Oct. 14/1: A man with neck enough can shove his frame through anywhere. I don’t mean the lead-swinging sick parade sort of guyver, but the dinkum use of nous and noodle.|
|‘The Knight’s Return’ in Chisholm (1951) 85: ’Ow can a ’omin’ ’usband ’ave the neck / To ’arf ixplain that wreck / With self-respeck?|
|Gilt Kid 149: ‘Feeling all right?’ ‘Sure, why wouldn’t I?’ answered the Gilt Kid. Bloody neck that on Scaley’s part. What, did he think everyone, bar himself, was milky or something?|
|On Broadway 4 Feb. [synd. col.] ‘President Rosenfeld of the Raw Deal. He has some neck — for some rope’.|
|None But the Lonely Heart 135: What a bleeding neck, eh? Coming in here slinging your weight about?|
|Bodhrán Makers 289: You have an awful neck to show up here.|
|Snapper 46: A laugh burst out of Darren. He’d have loved the neck to say something like that.|
|Grits 416: Tha cunt thurr’s got some fuckin neck so ee has.|
(b) one who speaks impudently.
|Snapper 90: You’re some fuckin’ neck, Mister Burgess, d’yeh know tha’?|
4. (US) in senses of stupidity.
(a) a fool.
|A. Mutt in Blackbeard Compilation (1977) 31: Don’t be a little neck. Put it on a live one.|
(b) foolishness, nonsense.
|(con. 1960s) Black Gangster (1991) 70: That shit your mother is talkin’ ain’t nothin’ but neck.|
5. (US campus) in senses of physical sexuality [necking n. (2)].
(a) the act of kissing and cuddling.
|Goodbye to The Hill (1966) 71: There was always a load of mots that were on the look-out for a good neck and a grope.|
(b) one with whom one kisses and cuddles.
|inCourtship of Andy Hardy [film script] She shouldn’t be a free neck, but she has to have a good line [HDAS].|
6. [abbr. redneck n. (1)].
(a) (US) a poor farmer, usu. Southern and presumably racist and unsophisticated.
|AS L:1/2 63: neck n Redneck, person regarded as socially unacceptable, usually because of rural ways.‘Razorback Sl.’ in|
(b) (US campus) a term of abuse.
|Current Sl. I:3 5/2: Neck, n. An extremely backard person, a rustic, a ‘square.’.|
|Plainclothes Naked (2002) 13: About the only officially sanctioned police violence left was the pummeling of ‘necks,’ as the souls who flocked to crime scenes were called.|
7. (UK Black) female-to-male fellatio.
|‘Came in da Room’ [lyrics] The bitch got a cut if she don’t give neck.|
|‘Call Me a Spartan’ [lyrics] Brown and leng still giving out neck (neck).|
8. see pencil-neck n.
a quantity, usu. of a drink.
|Tramp-Royal on the Toby 104: I collected some bread and cheese and apple pudding along with a welcome neckful of lemonade.|
|Londinismen (2nd edn).|
alcohol, usu. beer.
|Dict. Modern Sl., Cant etc. (2nd edn) 179: neck-oil drink of any kind.|
|Attempt towards Gloss. Words Stafford 16/2: Neck-oil, ale. A word I once heard at Walsall .|
|Sun. Times (Perth) 24 Apr. 4/7: A few courses of harmony and neck oil.|
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 181/1: Neck oil (E. London). Beer generally.|
|(con. 1900s) Old Soldier Sahib (1965) 75: He inquired if we were fond of a drop of ‘neck-oil’, which like ‘purge’ was a nickname of beer.|
|Williamstown Chron. (Vic.) 12 Nov. 3/4: Charlie turned up a good job with the Shell, and must reckon if there’s good money to be made in motor oil, there must be good money in neck oil.|
|Barry McKenzie [comic strip] in Complete Barry McKenzie (1988) 76: Youse and me were yarning away here over a few chilled tubes of neck oil.|
|Traveller’s Tool 131: I’ve got a refreshing glass of neck-oil in one hand, a smoke on the go in the other.|
|Lingo 55: The term [oil] is relatd to the earlier use of oil for alcohol — and still current as throat-oil or neck-oil. At a time when alcohol was often adulterated, good oil meant the genuine full-strength brew.|
|(con. 1940s–60s) Straight from the Fridge Dad.|
SE in slang uses
a general insult aimed at socially unsophisticated adult males, typically still living at home and incapable of relationships.
|everydayfeminism.com 23 Feb. [Internet] Have you come across “neckbeard” as an insult? It’s popular in some corners of the internet – think of the common stereotype of a ‘fat loser living in his mom’s basement’.|
(US black) fellatio.
|Ebonics Primer at www.dolemite.com [Internet] neck bone Definition: oral copulation. Example: The bitch gave up a neck bone.|
a hangman’s rope.
|‘De Night before Larry was Stretch’d’ Songs [publ. Monaghan] 5: Oghone! it’s all over said he, / For de neck cloth I’ll be forc’d to put on.|
|‘The Night Before Larry Was Stretched’ in Musa Pedestris (1896) 79: For the neckcloth I don’t care a button.|
|‘Night Before Larry Was Stretched’ in Dublin Comic Songster 185: [as cit. 1788].|
a tavern pot-boy.
|Canting Academy (2nd edn).|
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: neck stamper c. the Pot-Boy at a Tavern or Ale-house.|
|New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|, , ,||Universal Etym. Eng. Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
a judicial hanging.
|Morn. Post (London) 2 Sept. 3/2: ‘Aye, scragged!’ echoed John, ‘hung by the neck. [...] If you peach, it will be a neck train.’.|
a Lat. verse recited as a means of escaping the gallows.
|Mankind line 620: Myscheff is a convicte for he coude hys neke verse [...] A lass he wyll hange.|
|F&H].Works 112: Yea set foorth a neckeuerse to saue all maner of trespassers, fro the feare of the sword [|
|Promos and Cassandra I IV iv: It behoues me to be secret, or else my neck verse cun.|
|Menaphon (1610) A2: Shifting companions [...] that could scarcely Latinize their neck verse if they should haue neede.in|
|Jew of Malta IV ii: Within forty foot of the gallows, conning his neck-verse.|
|Fair Maid of Bristow n.p.: No less then for his neck-verse will I touch him.|
|Guardian IV ii: Have not your Instruments To tune, when you should strike up, but twang it perfectly, As you would read your Neck-verse.|
|New Merry Letany 6: From our Neck-verse, and being burnt in the hand [...] Libera nos.|
|Church Hist. of Britain n.p.: These words, ‘bread and cheese,’ were their neck-verse or shibboleth to distinguish them [F&H].|
|‘The Rump Dockt’ Rump Poems and Songs (1662) II 45: Instead of Neck-verse / Shall have it writ on his herse, / Here hangs one of the King’s Tryers.|
|Nugae Venales 72: He reserves the Neck-verse for himself knowing he shall have occasion for it.|
|Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Neck-verse, a Favor (formerly) indulged to the Clergy only but (now) to the laity also, to mitigate the Rigor of the Letter of the Law, as in Man-slaughter, &c.|
|Old Songs in British Apollo n.p.: If a clerk had been taken For stealing of bacon, For burglary, murder or rape, If he could but rehearse (Well prompt) his neck-verse, He never could fail to escape [F&H].|
|New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].|
|Hist. of Highwaymen &c. 444: Vilet, being try’d at the Assizes at Oxford [...] being put to read his Neck Verse.|
|, ,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Modern Chivalry (1937) Pt II Vol. I Bk II 419: The time was when learning would save a man’s neck; but now it endangers it. The neck verse is reversed.|
|Morn. Chron. (London) 29 Oct. 3/2: [D]ragging in that ‘neck-verse’ [...] the song he sings before he supposes he is about to be executed.|
|Devizes & Wilts Gaz. 7 Apr. 4/3: By an old law of clergy a woman might suffer death for an offense, whilst her maler associate in guilt saved his life by reading the miserable neck-verse.|
|Morn. Post (London) 27 July 3/5: [The] old man look round with an expression, hafl-fear and half-blaney, and [...] calls out, in the tremulous tone of a felon essaying to sing his neck-verse on the scaffold.|
|Chester Chron. 19 Mar. 8/5: Theree was a more than usual knot of these wiseacres, from the egregious Doctor of Philosophy (who would be hard put to it to utter his neck-verse understandingly) to [etc.].|
|Stirling Obs. 12 Oct. 5/3: A ride of a mile and a half brought us from Gallows Hill (where many a ‘neck verse’ has been sung) to Keir Mains.|
|(ref. to 16C) Leicester Chron 21 Dec. 9/6: Bu his ability to read a particular verse in the Bible — popularly known as a ‘neck verse’ — the criminal was enabled to ‘claim the benefit of clergy’ and thus saved his neck.|
|Sheffield Eve. Teleg. 29 Sept. 4/4: The authentic ‘Neck Verse’ used at Newgate is, however, extant.|
|Morn. Post (London) 21 Aug. 5/7: Nobody loots the Boers, or, if he does so, he had better bethink him of a hand lie as his ‘neck-verse’.|
|Hull Dly Mail 29 Jan. 2/7: The first verse of the fifty-first Psalm is called the ‘Neck Verse’ for the reason that in former times a man condemned to death was sometimes given a chance to save his life by proving that he could read and this verse was used as a test.|
|Western Dly Press 4 Apr. 5/5: Jonson ‘pleaded his clergy and read his neck-verse! [...] thereby saving his neck.|
|Cornishman 30 Nov. 6/3: Punishment consisted of the reading of verse one of the 51st psalm, always called the ‘neck verse’.|
1. hemp, the basic constituent of the rope used for the gallows.
|Bk of Simples fol. 27: Here is an herbe whiche light fellowes, merily will call Gallowgrasse, Neckeweede, or the Tristrams knot, or Saynt Andres lace, or a bastarde brothers badge, with a difference on the left side etc., you know my meaning.|
|F&H].(trans.) Historie of Plantes 72: Hempe is called in... English, necke-weede, and Gallows grasse [|
|Works (1869) III 68: Some call it Neck-weed, for it hath a tricke / To cure the necke that’s troubled with the crick.‘Praise of Hemp-Seed’ in|
|Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue ms. additions n.p.: Neck Weed, Hemp.|
|,||Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue (2nd, 3rd edn).|
|Grose’s Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.|
|Freeman’s Jrnl 10 Apr. 2/3: But what have I / Or you to do with ropes or neckweed here.|
|Devizes & Wilts Gaz. 19 Oct. 4/4: Thus hemp from its use in providing the halter, is in some books called gallows-grass, while others call it neck-weed.|
|Northern Trib. (Cheboygan, MI) 5 Nov. 3/1: Hemp is denominated ‘neck-weed’.|
|Aberdeen Jrnl 29 Dec. 5/7: There are humorous nicknames, like neck-weed for hemp, which yields the rope that hangs malefactors.|
2. the hangman’s rope itself.
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
to make a special effort.
|Dark Hazard (1934) 158: Why should he break his neck to get home on schedule?|
|Catcher in the Rye (1958) 112: I didn’t break my neck looking for him, naturally, the bastard.|
|(con. 1950) Band of Brothers 245: Herding a bunch of tourists around [...] breaking your neck to get a cut from the souvenir stores.|
|(con. 1949) Big Blowdown (1999) 302: There ain’t nothin’ serious goin’ on here tonight. So don’t break your neck gettin’ back.|
to yearn for, to be desperate for.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 9 July 36/2: Yer might have bought clobber fer that big gaol-bird that yer used ter be breakin’ yer neck after, in Elizabeth-street, but y’ never gave me any. A pretty article she was ter spend yer silver on, I must say!|
|There Ain’t No Justice 69: That crook of a guv’nor’ll be here in a minute, breaking his neck to sign you up for a series of fights in his hall. Tell him its ixnay.|
(US) to get married.
to commence, to set events in motions.
|Sl. and Its Analogues.|
see under dead adj.
to consume food or drink.
|Hookey 3: A glass of ginger-ale which my young friend had pressed on me. ‘Get that down your neck,’ she said.|
|Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era.|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Here you are. Get that down your neck.‘Wanted’|
|Only Fools and Horses [TV script] Here you are, come on, get that down your neck, a small rum.‘Hole in One’|
see separate entry.
(US) to become nervous.
|Big Sleep 95: I was wondering what it was all about and getting my neck wet.|
(Aus.) to defeat or outwit someone.
|Truth (Sydney) 26 Nov. 14/6: The husband [...] said that Witt was ‘getting under his neck,’ and in an attempt to drive him out of Albury used to meet him a couple of times a week and give him a hiding.|
|Townsville Dly Bulletin (Qld) 24 May 9/3: The prisoner told him that Tom Wallis had got under his neck for his girl. Paterson seemed to be worried over it.|
|Morn. Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld) 22 Mar. 5/3: In the early jockeyings for position Bruce Pie seems to have been too nippy for Premier Hanlon, in that he got under his neck for the City Hall.|
|Truth (Sydney) 30 Mar. 5/5: While city man was negotiating the purchase of a posh sea-side home, which he rented, a regular week end guest got under his neck and landed the property.|
(Aus.) to take someone else’s prerogative, to steal someone’s idea, to stop someone else’s intended actions.
|Riverslake 220: You just race in the mob from the office and go under our necks.|
|Dyehouse 120: She knew she was going under Patty What’s-her-name’s neck. We can’t shed tears of blood over these dames.|
|NT News (Darwin) 7 Dec. 7: Bob-a-job Boy Scouts in England have got under the neck of the Pommie Post Office by starting a cheap Christmas card delivery service [GAW4].|
|Dinkum Aussie Dict. 27: Go under (someone’s) neck: To take unfair advantage thus, ‘I thought I had the job but the bloody bastard went under me neck.’.|
to have a drink.
|Kendal Mercury 17 Apr. 6/1: The journeyman then proposes that he and his friend moisten their necks with a drop of gin.|
to stand, to exhibit moral courage.
|Dict. of Sl., Jargon and Cant II 83/2: Not to be able to neck it, not to have the moral courage to do or ask.|
head over heels.
|‘’Arry on the Sincerest Form of Flattery’ in Punch 20 Sept. 144/2: They’ll be arter you, nick over nozzle, the smuggers of notions and nips.|
(black) a weakling, a coward.
|Lowspeak 105: No neck – an idiot.|
see on one’s ear under ear n.1
pressurizing or persecuting someone.
|Adventures of Jimmie Dale (1918) I ix: By de time youse gets five feet from de door of dis room we has de whole works on yer neck.|
|Pat Hobby Stories (1967) 29: The boss is on my neck [...] I’ve got to have a finished script Thursday.‘Pat Hobby’s Christmas Wish’ in|
|Big Heat 110: He was on our neck fast enough on that job Big Burrows did.|
|Mute Witness (1997) 55: If you go back to the precinct, Lieutenant, Chalmers will be on your neck in a minute.|
|Much Obliged, Jeeves 158: How am I to restore the porringer [...] before the constabulary come piling on the back of my neck?|
(US) to mind one’s own business.
|AS VIII:3 (1933) 30/2: PULL IN YER NECK—YER EARS,—YER BARBER POLE, etc. Shut up! Twelve-double-o-three shouts, ‘Hey, Forty!’ to a fellow in a cell down the line. Forty answers, ‘What?’ Three yells back, ‘Pull in yer neck!’ and everybody on the tier laughs.‘Prison Dict.’ in|
|Putting ’Em Over 30 May [synd. col.] Pull In Yer Neck, They’re Looking for Boll Weevils.|
|Story Omnibus (1966) 304: ‘Lay off that,’ said Red O’Leary, ‘or I’ll knock you off.’ ‘Pull in your neck,’ said Jack Counihan.‘The Big Knockover’|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 164: pull your head/neck in Mind your own business. ‘Pull your woolly head in — the woodpeckers are flying low,’ was the advice to Kiwi troops in Korea. ANZ c.1930.|
see wash one’s neck under wash v.
(US prison) to be quiet, esp. as an imper.
|Other Side of the Wall: Prisoner’s Dict. July [Internet] Rest Your Neck: Be quiet, as in ‘Lay down and rest your neck.’Also, ‘Bite your pillow.’.|
(Aus.) to have a drink.
|Dead Bird (Sydney) 16 Nov. 2/2: [He] called for a whisky and soda, rinsed his neck, nodded to the barmaid to put it on the slate, and left.|
see shut one’s head under head n.
(orig. US campus) to exceed one’s brief, to interfere in affairs in which one is not directly concerned and often, having stuck out one’s neck, fig. to have one’s head cut off; thus, in opposite sense, wind in one’s neck v., to modify one’s behaviour.
|Phila. Inquirer 16 June n.p.: To ‘stick out one’s neck’ is to commit an unpardonable error, to lay one’s self open to criticism, usually that of being ‘wet.’.|
|Red Wind (1946) 187: You sure stick your neck out all the time, don’t you?‘Goldfish’ in|
|N.Y. Times 12 Nov. 42: ‘If the leaders and owners of the American System are too lazy to wash their dirty dishes, too selfish to be intelligent, too timid to stick their necks out in defense of free enterprise and constitutional government, who will defend it?’ he asked.|
|High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 348: Roy, I’ll give it to you straight. You’re just putting your neck out.|
|Big Clock (2002) 71: Why should you do this? Why do you stick your neck out?|
|Mating Season 35: Completely overlooking, poor fathead, that [...] he will be sticking his neck out.|
|Jimmy Brockett 234: I couldn’t give Pat a chance to have a go at me. It wasn’t likely, by hang, that he would, at such a time, but there was no point in poking my neck out.|
|One Lonely Night 48: I stuck my neck out when I invited you in.|
|Always Leave ’Em Dying 98: It’s bad enough that I’m here, sticking your neck out.|
|Mute Witness (1997) 45: Jeez, Lieutenant! You’re sticking your neck out a mile.|
|Pimp 94: I gotta’ love your stinking junkie ass to stick my neck out like that.|
|Inside the Und. 168: Who’s going to stick his neck out when there’s a Squad car outside.|
|Old Story Time II vi: Why am I sticking my neck out for you?|
|Spike Island (1981) 456: ‘I still administer a clip round the ear,’ admits an officer of the old school, ‘and I stick my neck out.’.|
|Submariners II i: Stop manking you two. Wind your necks in.|
|Observer 18 July 27: Roy was the ‘only Indian writer with the guts to stick her neck out’.|
|Guardian Guide 8–14 Jan. 12: I stuck my neck out for you [...] I slept with a rapist!|
|Outlaws (ms.) 48: If there’s one thing I agreed with fucking Gerrard over, it was never to stick your neck out.|
see swallow one’s spit under swallow v.
1. to talk nonsense.
|Mad mag. Sept.–Oct. 10: For years I been talking outta the side o’ my face [...] Now I kin talk outta the front of me neck!|
|(con. 1950s) Whoreson 39: Anybody can talk out of the side of his neck.|
|Runnin’ Down Some Lines 101: Talking out of the side of one’s neck suggest[s] that words lie.|
|Straight Outta Compton [title page] A dive into living large, a work where characters trip, talk out the side of their neck and cuss like it was nothing.|
|Portable Promised Land (ms.) 159: We Words (My Favorite Things) [...] Get off my dick. Talkin out your neck. Talkin all that jazz.|
2. to talk surreptitiously to ensure that one’s conversation remains unheard by eavesdroppers.
|Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].|
|Pimp’s Rap 3: They ere dressed down in leather and were talking slick out the side of their necks.|
3. (US prison, also come out of the side of one’s neck) to talk disrespectfully.
|(con. 1998–2000) You Got Nothing Coming 34: ‘Fine?’ Skell looks like i just slapped him in the face. ‘You talkin’ outta the side of your neck, dawg?’ [Ibid.] 47: Nobody comes outta the side of their neck at me! Specially not no fuckin’ fish!|
to talk nonsense, to talk rubbish.
|Amateur Cracksman (1992) 104: ‘Don’t talk through yer neck,’ snarled the convict. ‘Talk out straight, curse you!’.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Oct. 16/3: ‘W.S.T.’ [...] talks through his neck about up-to-date sheep-dogs working like gymnasts. A show worker never does anything like that.|
|Jonah 62: ‘Yer talkin’ through yer neck,’ cried Jonah, losing his temper.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 19 Dec. 16/1: There are many Maori proverbs which have not yet seen the light of print. Some of Henare’s sayings are very subtle, and, in some cases are synonomous with the shearer’s ‘backchat.’ F’rinstance, ‘The man’s talk is from the back of his head,‘ was a common saying of many generations of brown brethren.|
|Harrovians 68: What is the good of writing stuff like this? He must know he’s shouting through his fat neck.|
|Third Round 589: Either the maid is talking through the back of her neck, or she isn’t.|
|Final Count 847: I can’t say if the old boy is talking out of the back of his neck or not.|
|Right Ho, Jeeves 76: You consider me to be talking through the back of my neck.|
|Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit 179: How mistaken I had been in supposing that he had been talking through the back of his neck.|
|Long and the Short and the Tall Act II: It seems to me you’re talking out of the back of your head.|
|Tuff 180: I was talking out of the back of my neck and said some shit without really thinking.|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 207: talk through a hole in the back of your neck Talking nonsense. ANZ.|
(Aus.) to talk in an aristocratic manner.
|Bulletin (Sydney) 27 July 36/2: S’welp me, I near passed ’im one in th’ eye – talkin’ to me like so – but ’e wuz so little an’ pink an’ talked through the top of ’is neck so pretty that I ’eld off.|
(Irish) an excl. of surprise or disbelief.
|Full Speed Ahead 104: ‘Hatteras, my neck!’ said the other.|
|(con. 1880–90s) I Knock at the Door 116: That me neck! Kelly would cry.|
|(con. 1890s) Pictures in the Hallway 219: Cancer, me neck! he exploded as he disappeared.|