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[rahy-nek] /ˈraɪˌnɛk/
  1. torticollis.
  2. a person having torticollis.
any of several small Old World climbing birds of the subfamily Jynginae, of the woodpecker family, noted for the peculiar habit of twisting the head and neck.
Origin of wryneck
1575-85; wry + neck Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for wryneck
Historical Examples
  • The wryneck, like its cousins the woodpeckers, feeds almost exclusively on insects which it secures by means of the tongue.

    Glimpses of Indian Birds Douglas Dewar
  • The wryneck is as retiring in disposition as the sparrow is obtrusive.

    Glimpses of Indian Birds Douglas Dewar
  • The wryneck was thought to build the nest, and hatch and feed the young of the cuckoo.

    Welsh Folk-Lore Elias Owen
  • Other naturalists have found the wryneck in India equally tame.

    Glimpses of Indian Birds Douglas Dewar
  • The sound is unlike any other, but that is nothing, since the same can be said of the wryneck and cuckoo and grasshopper warbler.

    Birds and Man W. H. Hudson
  • At most seasons of the year the wryneck is a remarkably silent bird.

    Glimpses of Indian Birds Douglas Dewar
  • He also includes the Nuthatch, which was at that time (as well as the wryneck) called a "Woodpecker."

  • Last year the wryneck was a scarce bird in this neighbourhood; in all my walks I heard but two or three, and at long intervals.

    The Hills and the Vale Richard Jefferies
  • During the talk that followed I asked him if he knew the wryneck, and if it ever nested in his orchard.

  • A wryneck made fast to it by a little chain, and by springing from spoke to spoke kept it in continual motion.

    Uarda, Complete Georg Ebers
British Dictionary definitions for wryneck


either of two cryptically coloured Old World woodpeckers, Jynx torquilla or J. ruficollis, which do not drum on trees
another name for torticollis
(informal) a person who has a twisted neck
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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wryneck in Medicine

wryneck wry·neck (rī'něk')
See torticollis.

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