a literal 'pain in the neck'

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Senior Member
Mounting tension or frustration causes the person to rub or slap the back of the neck to satisfy the tingling sensation that occurs when someone or something gives you a literal 'pain in the neck'.
Reference: Questions are the Answers By Allan Pease
Hello everyone.
In the quoted sentence, does the author mean that tension or frustration in the neck area causes the person to want to feel the same sensation that occurs when he receives a, let us say, slapping?
Thank you.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    By rubbing or slapping the back of the neck, the person is trying to alleviate the tingling sensation.

    I have no idea what the speaker means by someone giving you a literal pain in the neck, and even referring to something giving you a literal pain in the neck seems odd; we do not usually talk of bodily aches and pains as being given to us; they just happen. Nor, for that matter, is a literal "pain in the neck" usually in the form of a tingling sensation. Perhaps the writer's experience of neck pain is rather different from mine.

    The reason for "literal", and for "pain in the neck" being in inverted commas, is because the expression "pain in the neck" us usually used to refer to someone who irritates you.
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