a. The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders or trunk.
b. A narrow or constricted area of a bodily structure, as of a bone, that joins its parts; a cervix.
c. The part of a tooth between the crown and root.
2. The part of a garment around or near the neck.
3. A relatively narrow elongation, projection, or connecting part: a neck of land; the neck of a flask.
4. Music The narrow part along which the strings of an instrument extend to the pegs.
5. Printing See beard.
6. Geology Solidified lava filling the vent of an extinct volcano.
7. The siphon of a bivalve mollusk, such as a clam.
8. A narrow margin: won by a neck.
v. necked, neck·ing, necks
To kiss and caress amorously.
To strangle or decapitate (a fowl).
neck and neck
So close that the lead between competitors is virtually indeterminable.
up to (one's) neck
Deeply involved or occupied fully: I'm up to my neck in paperwork.
[Middle English nekke, from Old English hnecca.]
(click for a larger image)neck
Shiprock Peak, a volcanic neck, near Shiprock, New Mexico
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.