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See also: rubber-necker



From rubberneck (verb) +‎ -er (suffix indicating person or thing that does an action indicated by the root verb).[1]



rubbernecker (plural rubberneckers)

  1. (originally US) A person who rubbernecks; someone who cranes their neck as though it were made of rubber to see something (such as a tourist attraction) or to watch an event (such as an accident); a rubberneck.
    Synonyms: gaper, gawker, gawper, onlooker, spectator, starer
    The minor accident caused a traffic jam as rubberneckers slowed down to get a good view of the battered cars.
    • 1898, The Michigan School Moderator, volume 18, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Michigan School Moderator, OCLC 10157038, page 30, column 3:
      Gentlemen will leave their pocket flasks with the captain, and will limit themselves to two bunches of cigarettes each. Rubber neckers will be executed without trial. Glasses will be needed to protect the eyes from the dust, and you MUST "Keep off the grass."
    • 1899, Stephen Bonsal, “Under the Mango-tree”, in The Fight for Santiago: The Story of the Soldier in the Cuban Campaign, from Tampa to the Surrender, New York, N.Y.: Doubleday & McClure Co., OCLC 912778507, page 283:
      I suppose that fellow was a rubber-necker, and got killed peeping over the trenches.
    • 1899 March 25, “A Bobbin Boy’s Essay on His Boss”, in Jos[eph] M. Wade, editor, Fibre and Fabric: A Record of American Textile Industries in the Cotton and Woolen Trade, volume XXIX, number 734, Boston, Mass.: Jos. M. Wade, OCLC 31465619, page 63, column 2:
      He is a great "rubber-necker." What he don't see aint worth looking at.
    • 1899 November 3, W. Cheatham, “Hygiene of the Nose”, in H. A. Cottell and M. F. Coomes, editors, The American Practitioner and News, volume XXVIII, number 12, Louisville, Ky.: John P. Morton & Company, published 15 December 1899, OCLC 427186173, page 441:
      We are taught the importance of hygiene of the mouth, of the body, and of the hair, but little concerning the nose, which is the "rubber-necker" which is expected to discover any laxity of cleanliness of other parts of the body or the air around us.
    • 1991, Barry Gifford, “Consuelo’s Kiss”, in Sailor’s Holiday: The Wild Life of Sailor and Lula, New York, N.Y.: Random House, →ISBN; quoted in Thomas A. McCarthy, editor, The Rooster Trapped in the Reptile Room: A Barry Gifford Reader, New York, N.Y.; Toronto, Ont.: Seven Stories Press, 2003, →ISBN, page 256:
      "The train's whistle was blowin' the whole time and, Lord, it sounded like a bomb had went off when they hit," said Patty Fay McNair, a waitress at the Torch, to a rubbernecker who'd asked if she'd seen what happened.
    • 2000, Roy Medvedev, “Privatization, Government Crisis, and Elections (1993)”, in George Shriver, transl., Post-Soviet Russia: A Journey through the Yeltsin Era, New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press, →ISBN, part 1 (Myths and Realities of Capitalism in Russia), page 125:
      A huge crowd of Muscovites had gathered around the distant approaches to the building, beyond the cordon of military and police. [...] Stray bullets flew in their direction, too, and several people were wounded. Some were even killed. Nevertheless the crowd of rubberneckers kept growing.
    • 2001, David James Duncan, “A Prayer for the Salmon’s Second Coming”, in My Story as Told by Water [], 1st paperback edition, San Francisco, Calif.: Sierra Club Books, →ISBN, page 212:
      [...] Snake River breaching [...] will attract tourists, fly-rodders, kayakers, birders, botanists, Lewis and Clark buffs, and rubberneckers from all over the globe to ogle the mothballed dam remnants, study the returning plants, birds, and wildlife, [...]
    • 2001 January, Stephen J[oseph] Cannell, “The Tin Collectors”, in Vertical Coffin; The Tin Collectors, New York, N.Y.: St. Martin’s Griffin, published January 2004, →ISBN, page 156:
      [...] Shane kept looking into the open box with the morbid curiosity of a freeway rubbernecker passing a fatal accident. All of his mid-nineties career pileups were collected there.
    • 2014, Christopher Fowler, Bryant & May: The Bleeding Heart, London: Bantam Books, published 2015, →ISBN, page 133:
      'A rubbernecker checking out where you lived.' / 'Why would anybody do that?' / 'I guess it kind of makes you a celebrity.'
    • 2018 June 16, Fiona Sturges, “Cattleprods! Severed tongues! Torture porn! Why I’ve stopped watching the Handmaid’s Tale”, in Katharine Viner, editor, The Guardian[1], London: Guardian News & Media, ISSN 0261-3077, OCLC 229952407, archived from the original on 5 February 2020:
      The new season is unrelentingly bleak – gone is [Margaret] Atwood's astute social commentary, turning the audience into rubberneckers peering at the carnage.

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  1. ^ rubbernecker, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2011; “rubbernecker, n.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–present.

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