neck(redirected from break neck)
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the part of the body between the head and the trunk in man and land vertebrates. The neck is responsible for the mobility of the head, permits orientation in space, and facilitates the grasping of food, defense, and attack.
The framework of the neck consists of cervical vertebrae. The neck muscles are primarily modified portions of the truncal musculature. In amniotes, a compressor of the neck has developed— a derivative of the voluntary visceral musculature. The neck contains the initial sections of the respiratory system (larynx, trachea) and digestive system (pharynx, some salivary glands, part of the esophagus), several blood vessels (for example, the carotid arteries and jugular veins) and lymphatic vessels, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, and nerves. The initial segment of the spinal cord lies in the cerebrospinal canal, enclosed by arches of the cervical vertebrae.
In amphibians, the neck is not outwardly noticeable (there is only one vertebra), and the head can move only up and down and a little to the sides. In amniotes, the cervical portion has several vertebrae, and the development of the atlas and epistropheus (axis) enables the head to bend and rotate. In birds, the number of cervical vertebrae varies from nine to 25, and the combination of their movements makes it possible for some birds to rotate their heads 270° in one direction. In mammals, the cervical portion, regardless of the length of the neck, usually contains seven vertebrae. This is also true of the whale, whose neck is not outwardly separate, and of the giraffe. In the case of secondary limitation of neck mobility, the vertebrae of the cervical segment fuse (in cetaceans, armadillos, jerboas, and some other animals).
What does it mean when you dream about a neck?
To “protect one’s neck” is to not get caught at doing something in secret or to participate in a situation where one’s actions could be condemned. Often the phrase “don’t stick your neck out” is said as an admonishment. “Necking” describes romantic physical expressions of kissing, hugging, and overt passion arising aroused from the erogenous zones in the neck.