rubberneck

1 of 2

noun

rub·​ber·​neck ˈrə-bər-ˌnek How to pronounce rubberneck (audio)
1
: an overly inquisitive person
2
: tourist
especially : one on a guided tour

rubberneck

2 of 2

verb

rubbernecked; rubbernecking; rubbernecks

intransitive verb

1
: to look about or stare with exaggerated curiosity
drivers passing the accident slowed down to rubberneck
2
: to go on a tour : sightsee
rubbernecker noun

Example Sentences

Noun every year raucous rubbernecks by the busload descend upon the city for its famed Mardi Gras Verb She was rubbernecking and almost got in an accident herself. thoughtless drivers pausing on the highway to rubberneck at the accident
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Flimflam felt better in the mouth than swindle, and rubberneck was a more agreeable verb than crane. Ralph Keyes, Time, 1 Apr. 2021 What can only be described as a rubberneck-inducing, Alfalfa hair situation ensues, rendering her date-night vibe—a formfitting V-neck pink dress and no-makeup makeup look—virtually irreparable. Kate Branch, Vogue, 15 July 2018 The branch fell hard to the ground, scattering bees and rubbernecks in all directions. Ben Kesling, WSJ, 1 Aug. 2017
Verb
The drama of Elon Musk’s ownership is alluring: Musk recently said that usage of Twitter hit record levels, maybe partly from people gravitating to Twitter to rubberneck at Twitter’s chaos. Shira Ovide, Washington Post, 25 Nov. 2022 Hollywood seems particularly keen to rubberneck these days. Mikey O'connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Feb. 2022 When the movie was released in 1970, the Beatles had just broken up, and this moment allowed fans to rubberneck at the cracks in the band’s façade, giving fuel to those who argued that McCartney was to blame for the split. Dan Reilly, Vulture, 2 Dec. 2021 That is, there’s no constraint: Drivers don’t have to behave in a certain way, because there’s no longer a rubbernecking driver in front of them. Matt Simon, Wired, 7 Apr. 2020 Drivers rubbernecked past the Indian Health Care Center, which had been placed on near-total lockdown. Alden Woods, azcentral, 11 Apr. 2020 There are options for those who would rather rubberneck than subscribe: His website will sell you a replica Barings Bank trading jacket for €300. Charley Grant, WSJ, 6 Feb. 2020 There have been plenty of other wrecks at this spot, just in the past week or two, reminding fans why sports is such rubbernecking fun. John Branch, New York Times, 11 Oct. 2019 There’s a rubbernecking aspect to listening to Alabama fans lose their minds after a loss, which is a big reason the shows became so famous outside the state. John Talty | Jtalty@al.com, al, 12 Nov. 2019 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rubberneck.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

First Known Use

Noun

1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of rubberneck was in 1892

Dictionary Entries Near rubberneck

Cite this Entry

“Rubberneck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rubberneck. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

rubberneck

verb
rub·​ber·​neck
ˈrəb-ər-ˌnek
: to look around or stare with great curiosity

More from Merriam-Webster on rubberneck

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY