pain in the neck


pain in the neck


Anything that is particularly annoying, difficult, troublesome, inconvenient or irritating including a person, place, situation or thing.

Example Sentences

  1. Mathematics is generally a real pain in the neck for most of the school and college students.
  2. His sudden outbursts have made him a real pain in the neck and a socially unwanted person.
  3. Writing long essays on uninteresting topics is a pain in the neck.
  4. Although the work load increased but everyone was happy when Joe quit his job because he was a pain in the neck due to his abusive language.
  5. I’m sorry but can you help me load these cartons in the truck. Lifting them alone is a pain in the neck.
  6. Although environmental conservation is extremely important but industrialists generally view it is as a mere pain in the neck.
  7. A know it all person is usually pain in the neck for everyone.


The exact origins for this idiom are not known however it seems to have some physical and medical background. This phrase originated around 1900 as a less vulgar replacement of the (by then) common phrase ‘pain in the butt and pain in the ass‘. As nobody would like to have pain in any of these body parts, these phrases started to associate difficult and annoying things that one would want to vanish immediately with bodily pain.


  • pain in the ass
  • pain in the butt

Share your opinions3 Opinions

Harpastum, a game played in the Roman Republic which was similar to modern day rugby. Antiphanes wrote about the game “….damn it, what a pain in the neck I’ve got.” Could this be the source of the idiom?

‒ Caroline Woolnough October 8, 2023

I thought it might be referring to hanging.

‒ Cynthia Kuder February 8, 2022

I think this phrase is similar to something that bugs you. So the origin of this phrase comes from the fact that bugs often bite the back of a person’s neck. I looked up the origin of this phrase and i cannot believe that there is nothing on the www with this origin yet.

‒ Mr truth September 3, 2020

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