Pain in the Neck Idiom

Meaning of Pain in the Neck Idiom

Look at the comic above and try to guess the meaning of the idiom 'pain in the neck.'  

Pain in the neck:  someone or something that's is difficult or annoying.

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Notes:

This idiom has the same meaning as "pain in the butt" or "pain in the ass."  No one wants to have a pain in any of these areas—that feels irritating, annoying and difficult.

Pain in the neck is a more polite way of saying someone / something is irritating than pain in the butt.  (Pain in the ass is considered rude).

It's also common to simply use the phrase "he or she's a pain." (e.g., My mom is such a pain!).


Examples:

  • My little sister is such a pain in the neckshe constantly goes in my bathroom and uses my expensive makeup.
  • Your girlfriend is a real pain in the neck!  She complains about everything—how can you spend so much time with her?
  • I'm sorry to be a pain in the neck  but could you please help me load some boxes into my car again?
  • I hate to admit it but my children are utter pains in the neck!   
  • Would you stop being such a pain in the neck  all the time? You're always so negative and make everything so difficult.
  • I would spend more time with my father if he weren't such a pain in the neck.
  • How can you STILL be friends with him after he's been such a pain in the neck?
  • Our main client used to be such a pain in the neck  until I personally spoke to the CEO and we agreed on some basic terms of agreement—now it's great to work with them.
  • Your dog is such a pain in the neck—can't you put him in the other room for a little while so we can talk without the distractions?
  • My parents said I was such a pain in the neck  until I spent the summer at my grandmother's and she was really strict with me.


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Your Turn to Practice

Practicing is the best way to improve your English and remember new vocabulary. Write an example in the comments box and I'll provide feedback. Is someone being a pain in your neck these days? Are you often a pain in someone's neck? Feel free to simply write an example sentence—it doesn't matter as long as you practice!


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