rub·​ber·​neck | \ ˈrə-bər-ˌnek How to pronounce rubberneck (audio) \

Definition of rubberneck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an overly inquisitive person
2 : tourist especially : one on a guided tour


rubbernecked; rubbernecking; rubbernecks

Definition of rubberneck (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from rubberneck


rubbernecker \ ˈrə-​bər-​ˌne-​kər How to pronounce rubbernecker (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for rubberneck

Synonyms: Noun

excursionist, rubbernecker, sightseer, tourist, traveler (or traveller), tripper [chiefly British]

Synonyms: Verb

blink, gape, gawk, gawp [chiefly British], gaze, goggle, peer, stare

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of rubberneck in a Sentence


every year raucous rubbernecks by the busload descend upon the city for its famed Mardi Gras


She was rubbernecking and almost got in an accident herself. thoughtless drivers pausing on the highway to rubberneck at the accident
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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, "A Love Letter to the ’90s Bob That Changed Everything," 15 July 2018 The branch fell hard to the ground, scattering bees and rubbernecks in all directions. Ben Kesling, WSJ, "Look Out—It’s New York City’s Bee Cop! And He’s Got a Vacuum Cleaner," 1 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

There is an equality of skin on display here — first Nathan strips naked, and then Issa does, swapping rubbernecking for an intimate mutual gaze. Amanda Hess, New York Times, "Women Crash the Pool Party," 3 July 2019 Maryland State Police reported inner loop backups from rubbernecking drivers that stretched from the bridge to Branch Avenue. Clarence Williams, Washington Post, "A daytime bridge crash clogged D.C. area traffic into the night," 20 June 2018 Nothing unusual, except a video crew trailed Norman Xiong and his buddies, Rick Johnson and Roberto Castillo, down the sidewalk, no doubt causing some motorists to rubberneck. Tod Leonard,, "Interest high as San Diego Pro Kids alum Norman Xiong turns pro," 29 May 2018 Thousands rubbernecked from city streets, from Harbor and Shelter Islands and from Point Loma., "Queen Elizabeth visits San Diego," 26 Feb. 2018 The show’s first season, The People v. O.J. Simpson, elevated rubbernecking to an art. Tom Gliatto,, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace," 17 Jan. 2018 Yet the majority of people rubbernecking across the caution tape were members of the media. Sarah Kaplan, Washington Post, "In New York, the deadliest terrorist attack since 9/11 stirs old memories and strengthens resolve," 1 Nov. 2017 In the immediate aftermath of the bombing, the community was inundated with well wishes and donations—as well as rubbernecking tourists. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The 1927 Bombing That Remains America’s Deadliest School Massacre," 18 May 2017 The warning here lay not in the number of Americans who rubbernecked at this episode, but in how many were genuinely thrilled by it. Nitsuh Abebe, New York Times, "Tired of ‘Winning’? You Should Be," 20 June 2017

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.

See More

First Known Use of rubberneck


1894, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rubberneck

Statistics for rubberneck

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rubberneck

The first known use of rubberneck was in 1892

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rubberneck



English Language Learners Definition of rubberneck

chiefly US, informal : to look around or stare with great curiosity especially : to slow down while you are driving in order to stare at something (such as an accident)

More from Merriam-Webster on rubberneck

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rubberneck

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rubberneck

Nglish: Translation of rubberneck for Spanish Speakers

Comments on rubberneck

What made you want to look up rubberneck? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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