Idiom: Pain in the neck

Comic of man sitting on the floor looking up in disbelief at a man standing above him who says:

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.



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!).

Sentence 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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› Pain in the Neck Idiom