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[neyp, nap] /neɪp, næp/
the back of the neck (usually used in the phrase nape of the neck).
Origin of nape
1300-50; Middle English Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for nape
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It should shade from the sun, and, if used in hunting, protect the nape of the neck from rain.

  • She could hear his light breathing, she could discern his profile, then the nape of his neck.

    Fruitfulness Emile Zola
  • The nape and back of the head are black, but the forehead is marked by a large white spot.

    The Black Moose in Pennsylvania Henry W. Shoemaker
  • Oliver caught him by the nape of his neck, spun him round, and flung him into the arms of Jasper.

    The Sea-Hawk Raphael Sabatini
  • She was still in her riding clothes, her 212 head bare with its ribbon half untied in the nape of her slender neck.

    Tharon of Lost Valley Vingie E. Roe
  • Pull the nape cord taut and tie it to neck-wire in roof of mouth.

    Taxidermy Leon Luther Pray
British Dictionary definitions for nape


the back of the neck related adjective nuchal
Word Origin
C13: of unknown origin


(transitive) (US, military slang) to attack with napalm
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nape

"back of the neck," c.1300, of unknown origin, perhaps from Old French hanap "a goblet," in reference to the hollow at the base of the skull. "The entire absence of forms with initial k makes it difficult to connect the word with the apparently synonymous OFris (hals) knap [OED].

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nape in Medicine

nape (nāp, nāp)
The back of the neck.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Related Abbreviations for nape


National Association of Physicians for the Environment
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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